Dealing With Bullies: How Young Children Can Handle Bullies
Unfortunately, incidents of bullying begin at a very young age. Bullying can take the form of verbal teasing, mocking, physical, and nowadays, can happen in Cyber Space. Bullying can have devastating lifelong effects on an individual. It is important to take appropriate action immediately for the sake of the bully and the victim.
Young children who are bullies may not know how to interact with their peers appropriately. They may be trying to seek attention from others and when they do not get it, they will find an easy target and intimidate and bully them in a variety of ways. Identifying a bully at a young age and teaching them appropriate social skills along with empathy, respect, and belonging is crucial to end the cycle of bullying. Teachers, districts, and parents are often aware of who the “bullies” are, but do not always know what consequence is appropriate to issue. Acting immediately with any consequence is important to send the message that bullying will not be tolerated.
A young child who is bullied can work on learning how to be less of a “target” by improving self-advocacy skills, learning to be more confident, and improving self-esteem. However, it is up to adults to model positive behavior and intervene. A young child who is bullied at school needs to be identified and helped. Far too often victims of bullies are not helped, which leads to feelings of mistrust of adults and peers. Many times, parents who try to help their bullied child receive little support. It is often recommended that the child seek assistance from the school social worker or an outside agency. This is unfair for the victim. If the bullying has been an ongoing issue then the child does need support from professionals. However, if the bullying is caught immediately, and it should be, then the bully must receive the consequences. Teachers, parents, and the community must support the victim continuously. Sites like http://www.bullybegone.org/ offer support to parents and teachers. If a child has been bullied seek advice from professionals, such as social workers, teachers, and doctors to get advice for dealing with the situation.
Bullies Later in Life
If a young child is allowed to bully others, the results for the bully down the road can be significant. Bullies often escalate their behavior. What might have started as teasing in the early years can turn into much more dangerous behaviors later in life. Unfortunately, if no interventions and consequence are issued early in life then later on, they may face consequences such as removal from a public school to an alternative placement, expulsion, or even legal consequences.
What Can You Do
If bullying is a problem for your child there are a few ways to support them. First, keep the lines of communication open. Second, address the issue with the school or your child’s teacher. Ask the school and teacher to devise a plan to deal with the situation and make sure the situation is going to be dealt with to your satisfaction. If you feel you need more support, consult a social worker or an educational advocate. Contact your child’s doctor and make them aware of the situation. If you need to contact the principal, superintendent, and (if necessary) the board of education. No child deserves to be bullied. You need to provide support and advocate for them.
Stop Bullying Early
In conclusion, it is important to stop bullying in the earliest stages. For the sake of the bully and the victim, teachers, parents, and other adults must intervene to ensure the social emotional health of everyone. A parent or teacher may also go to support groups or informational blogs to get help and support from others. Bullying is a problem for everyone.