Bullying seems to have grown into an epidemic. Long gone are the days when bullying was only thought of as something that children just “dealt with.” It seems like every day children are missing school, spending days scared of being hurt, and, in the more extreme cases, committing suicide in an attempt to escape the terror that they suffer from. While most parents want nothing more than to just stay with their kids all the time to protect them from bullying, that is just not an option and can lead to more bullying as the child grows older. As with anything else, the best way to prevent bullying from getting out of hand is to discourage it from happening in the first place. But how can a child discourage bullying?
Your best bet is to stay away from the bully. If you ask your child who the bully (or bullies) are at school, odds are they will point them out immediately. If you notice that they are kids that you see on a regular basis, you might want to find a way to keep your child away from that bully. If it is someone that takes the same route to school as your child, than you might want to find another route. If it is someone they run into in between classes, if your child is in middle school or high school, they might want to find another route to that class.
Many bullies are put off when they see a group of children standing together. You can find a group for your child to walk to and from school with, just make sure that the bully is not a part of it. When your child is at school, they should play with a group of friends instead of playing by themselves. If your child is shy, point out some of the bigger children in her class that you might know are nice. A bully likes to pick on the smaller kids in the class and a larger friend will go a long ways in discouraging the bully. If you don’t know any of the kids, ask the teacher if she can find one for them. Sometimes, a teacher introducing two kids is a lot safer than having their parent do it. When your child is bullied, someone who is the same size as the bully and is not afraid, is more likely to stand up for those they see being bullied.
Teach your child to stand up for themselves when they start to be bullied. This does not mean that they can be mean to the bully, just teach them to tell the bully that they don’t like what they are doing. If they bully will not stop, they need to talk to a teacher. It is not tattling if something is bad is actually happening. Teachers are so overwhelmed with the students they have that they don’t always notice what is going on.
Have your children play near an adult, if possible. Bullies looke for opportunites when a child is alone and the bully won’t be seen in order to do whatever they want. If the child is near an adult, the bully will generally leave them alone. However; this is not always possible, and should only be used as a last resort when everything else has failed.
While there is no guarantee that your child will never be bullied, that does not mean that your child can’t do things to discourage it. If your child comes to you about being bullied, you need to listen to them and help them through it. Help them to know that there is nothing wrong with them and help them to feel good about themselves, so when they are bullied, they can handle it better.