Help your child deal with bullying

Has your child just started a new school? Are they finding it a bit challenging to settle in there? Could it be because of another individual making them feel uncomfortable or upset?

Bullying in schools is unfortunately something that is extremely prevalent at all ages. More often than not, kids bully others to make themselves feel more in control, more important or more popular. It stems from an insecurity inside themselves which can be easy to identify at a young age. Bullies usually choose a victim who is weaker than them, or someone who stands out because they are different. Sometimes bullying is learnt behaviour. It could be that that’s the way they have been treated, either at home or elsewhere. They may think their behavior is normal if they have often been exposed to anger, shouting and other aggressive behaviour. This exposure can even come from watching TV programmes which contain this kind of behaviour, comedic or not.

According to parents.com:

“By kindergarten, children begin to grasp the concept of social power among their peers, notes Elizabeth K. Englander, Ph.D., director of The Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State University. That’s when aggressive kids start to actively target others whom they see as vulnerable — whether it’s because they’re shy, sensitive, small, or simply different.”

So, you find out that your child is being bullied at school. What do you do now? Here are some steps you can take to try and make their life easier:

Listen, offer comfort and support

The first step is to praise them for opening up to you and talking about it. The chances are, it has been playing on their mind for a while and it was a difficult thing for them to bring up or admit. Make it clear that you are there for whatever they need, without judgement. Reassure them that they are not the problem, and explain the possibly reasons for the bully’s behaviour.

Alert authorities (but with caution)

Let someone at the school (a teacher or headteacher) know about the situation. You can talk with him or her about how to move forward. They are able to monitor daily occurences and prevent further upset if nothing more. First assess whether it will worsen the situation if the bully finds out that they have been discovered.  The school might be able to organise a meeting with the bully’s parents so they can figure out the home situation.

Advise them

Here is a list of good advice that you can give your child if they are being bullied:

  • Never be alone where the bully may be, always try to be with a friend
  • Try not to show upset or anger around the bully, remain calm
  • Walk away and ignore them as much as possible
  • Talk to a friend, sibling, parent or teacher about it as much as possible
  • Show kindness to the bully because they may be the one who needs it most

 

Check where the problem lies

Another question which is critical to ask ourselves (although we may we reluctant to do so) is whether our child is actually the problem. Remain connected with your child always and notice any negative emotions that they may have. Help your child to control and deal with these negative emotions.

Look out for these warning signs:

  • Your child regularly gets into trouble at school
  • Your child is easily angered
  • Your child finds it difficult to control their emotions
  • Your child is exposed to a stressful environment
  • Your child speaks negatively about some members of their class
  • Your child surrounds themselves by aggressive peers

 

If you are concerned, make sure to contact their school and take the necessary, advised steps.

 

 

Written by Kelly Lindsey Abel.

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