As parents, we want to be able to protect our children from everything. Or, at the very least, prepare them for everything that they’ll have to face in the world. Of course, this task is almost impossible but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try our best. And really, isn’t that what parenting is about? Doing our best for our children? They don’t need for us to be perfect and shield them from everything but they do need us. Has your child ever been bullied? So how do we handle it when your child is being bullied?
Bullying is a form of intimidating another for a number of reasons.
Children may be targeted for almost any reason. A child who is socially awkward or who excels in a subject are examples of a child that my be bullied. Increasingly bullying has become a problem across the country. Some children have even committed suicide as a result of bullying.
Although adults are aware of the problem and potential dangers to children bullying remains a major problem. Parents must be vigilant to the signs of whether their child is being bullied.
Bullying is difficult for everyone involved. The key is to stay as involved as possible. Listen and discuss with the child available solutions. Assist the child in taking control of the situation. Ensure the child that the problem can be solved.
What to Do When Your Child is Being Bullied
No parent relishes the thought of their child being hurt or bullied. The decision to intervene is far from simple, yet this is a problem no child should feel as if they are alone in handling.
Children bully and are bullied for a number of reasons. Put simply, a child should be appreciated for their individuality both in and away from school. The solution may not be particularly easy and may require increased involvement on the part of both sets of parents. In any case, treat the problem as a priority this is a problem in you child’s life and as such should be treated with care and as important.
Let the child know that actions are being taken on their behalf to stop the bullying behavior.
Report The Behavior
Bullying should never be kept a secret. The fact is that if the behavior is kept in the dark the increased likelihood that the behavior will continue unchecked. Make school personnel immediately aware of the problem. Report where, when, and how the bullying is occurring. Take note of the people involved, along with, those who stood by and did nothing. Take note of whether the bullying is ongoing or a one time incident, in either case it is important to alert school personnel to the problem.
Once reported it is important to be patient. Action may not be immediate, however a parent can expect that appropriate steps to stop the bullying will be taken.
Be Your Child’s Best Advocate
A child needs to know that they are being listened to and understood. In other words, be as understanding as possible and listen with an active open mind. Engage your child frequently in activities they enjoy. This may also help the child take their mind off their troubles for a bit. Table the bullying issues for a time and relax and enjoy one another’s company.
Techniques such as these are trust building and may help lead to a solution. Let the child know that you are available to listen and that you do care about their struggle.
Empower Your Child
Bullying can help a child feel powerless and utterly out of control. Help your child through setting reachable goals that can be attained through more moderate means. For example, build a model with the child or do some brainstorming about the issue to help the child problem-solve. It may be very tempting to “take over” and understandably attempt to solve the problem “for” the child.
This attitude is not helpful, it is better to help the child reach a solution on their own. Be as supportive as possible in the problem without taking the power of a solution from the child.
How to Know When Your Child is Being Bullied:
Mysterious Injuries Or Property Damage
A child being bullied may come home with cuts or bruises that are not explained. Or a child’s clothing may be torn or books may be soiled or damaged. The child may be too embarrassed to explain how these injuries are happening.
Fear Of School Bus Or Going To School
A child may begin to ask to stay at home from school or miss the bus on a regular schedule. Of course, this is quite natural as the child is attempting to avoid the problem altogether. A child may also feign being ill in order to miss school.
May Have Few Or No Friends
The child may isolate themselves by refusing to make friends. Unfortunately, this may set the child up for further and more intense bullying episodes. In isolating him or herself the child is deprived of a peer support system.
Lost Interest In School Or Related School Activities
This is also a red flag for depression and it is a definite sign that something serious is occurring. In order to learn, children should be engaged and enthusiastic about the process. This is especially true if the child once was enthusiastic about school, but isn’t any longer.
Begins To Do Poorly in School
Children should not have explicit problems in succeeding at school. Activities are meant to be age appropriate. A child who is struggling may have bullying on their mind and are unable to prepare for school success.
“Read” Between The Lines
A child may not come out and say they are being bullied. They may bring up the subject in a more round-about way. For example, a child may say there are a number of “things” or “stuff” going around them that are causing an inability to concentrate or succeed.
The child may at one time have had a number of friends, but this is no longer the case. Friends that no longer come around is an indicator of a social problem the child is struggling with. Ask your child about their relationships with others.
Pay Attention To A Child’s Moods
A child may become tearful over relatively small things or upset about relationships that once were not a problem. The child may express anxiety through physical symptoms, such as, the sudden onset of joint pain, headaches, or stomach upset.
The key is to pay attention to what is going on in a child’s life to identify and ultimately remedy a child’s bullying problem.
Has your child ever been bullied? How did you handle the situation?