Bullying amongst children of all ages is increasingly becoming an everyday occurrence. Mild form of bullying like name calling or teasing amongst kids, which is very common in schools, can be deemed to be understandable and acceptable. However, when your kid is being bullied on a continual basis and for prolonged periods of time, it could cause grave psychological damage to your child.
Bullying is an intentional form of hurting. It could be verbal or non-verbal; it could become physically dangerous or emotionally harmful. Parents would therefore need to take bullying seriously and put an end to bullying before it worsens. Keep in mind that your kid definitely needs your help; as parents, it is your responsibility to come to his/her aid when being bullied. In such a scenario, you would need to take firm steps to deal with this menace promptly.
Here is what to do if your kid is being bullied:
~ Assure your kid
Assuring your kid of your support is the primary first step. Let your kid know that you totally believe in him/her and are readily available if and when needed to discuss the issue and take necessary action if required. After making certain that your kid has in no way triggered this abnormal behavior, reiterate your trust in your kid.
Reassure him/her that you are willing to do all that it takes to resolve the problem as soon as possible. This brand of assurance makes the kid feel secure and cared for, knowing that his/her parents are ready to help find the best solution to the problem.
~ Advise how to deal with the bully
If the bullying is simply in the form of teasing and not too stressful for your kid, it would be wise for parents not to interfere or make a big issue out of it. Instead, it would be better to advise your kid to take it lightly, avoid giving it much thought and simply walk away. Impress upon your kid that when the bully realizes that you are indifferent and has no chance of eliciting your negative response like anger or hatred, it is most likely that he/she will back off.
Remind your kid that his/her case is not an isolated one; a lot of children get bullied at some time or the other. Advise your kid to remain calm and casual, which would perhaps be the simplest way of dealing with the bully instead of resorting to sharp negative reactions.
~ Explain possible reasons for bullying
Explain to your child that it could happen that this bully may be a product of broken home or abusive parents. Perhaps, being deprived of adequate love and attention could have triggered an emotional imbalance in the bully. To give the bully the benefit of doubt, it would be a good idea for parents to consider feeling sorry for the bully. Experts believe that those children, who for some reason or the other, have low self-esteem or robbed off their self-confidence, often turn out to be bullies.
You could explain to your kid how nice it would be on his/her part to empathize with this kid by not giving way to anger or rebuke. Instead, by feeling sorry for the circumstances the bully may be in, your kid could possibly win him over by showing an act of kindness or extending a warm hand of friendship. This could be the finest life lesson you could teach your kid and simultaneously have a positive impact on the bully.
~ Teach your kid
Studies indicate that generally bullies tend to victimize those who are timid, afraid or who tend to get easily intimidated. It would therefore be prudent for parents to equip their kid to be more assertive and to learn positive ways to deal with the problem. Your kid can better handle the bully when he/she has an integral place in a group of friends.
Parents can provide opportunities to their kids to make friends in several ways. They can encourage their kid to participate in group activities like sports and debates or simply spend time together over the week-ends. This sense of belonging, could enhance your kid’s self-image and boost his/her ability in handling negative situations in life.
If all that above strategies fail to mend the behavior of the bully, the best thing would be to go to your kid’s school and talk to the teacher or the principal directly emphasizing your concerns. You could also garner support from other parents if you happen to learn that other kids have also been victimized by this bully. Avoid confronting the bully or his/her parents directly. At best, get the authorities like the school principal or the headmaster to take appropriate action.
Finally, keep in mind that creating a loving and supportive environment in your home, can work wonders for your child. It can empower him/her to deal effectively with any negative situations and challenges that may arise in your kid’s journey through life.
Source: Parenting with Purpose by Robert Reasoner and Marilyn Lane