Google the word bullying and you get a slew of responses- all implying that a bully is someone who uses his/her intimidating strength as a form of oppression against others. It even has a classification these days, there’s physical, emotional, and the latest- cyber bullying. Unfortunately, most parents are helpless when it comes to their kids being bullied and for a variety of reasons. They fail to recognize the symptoms and even if they do, they are clueless about how to handle it. It’s necessary to consider that lack of attention and help at the right time can leave your little one mentally scarred.
Here we have compiled a list of 5 things you can do to empower your child against bullying.
1. Teach them well, so they can tell:
Your child needs to know when they are being bullied. Be it their peers, an older kid or even an adult. Teach your child to know the difference between a friendly jostle and a deliberate shove. Give them a basis for what a decent comment is and what borders on obscenity, especially on social media. Assure them that it is okay and completely normal to cry or feel hurt, so they know to approach you when they are. Another thing to assure them would be that coming out about being bullied does not make them a tattletale.
2. The connection is key:
Make sure your child feels secure and loved at home. If he/she is being belittled and demeaned every day, it is natural for their self-esteem to take a beating. Pent up emotions that they may have will find a way to project through back-talking or aggressive behavior. It’s ideal that you stay collected and respond gently while trying to reach out to them. Make sure your kid knows you’re there for them and prove that you are by taking immediate action. For younger kids, it makes sense for both sets of parents to sit down and have a talk and encourage the kids to sort out their differences. An older kid will be terrorized at the idea of adult intervention- to them, it’s shaming, regardless of your good intentions. After you have carried out the necessary action, touch base with your child once again so they feel reassured that they can always count on you.
3. Walking away is NOT the same as running away:
It’s important to pick your battles. Your child cannot physically fight an opponent thrice his/her size, so teach them to ignore being provoked to a fight. Kids may think that saying no to a fight would make them come across as cowards. Teach them to be assertive and walk away without a concern. Comebacks like “See you later, mate!” or “Yeah, because that’s just all you are.” in public is enough to put the bully astray. In fact, this will demonstrate to others that the victim is mature and adept at handling such situations. Have your kids understand that adults appreciate this approach much more than a physical, abusive fight.
4. Encourage budding friendships:
Encourage your child to talk and make more friends at school because bullies don’t usually target those in a group. Two or more friends having lunch or standing by their lockers are less likely to be picked on. The bus, the locker room, and the bathroom are a bully’s target places. Encourage them to pick a good set of friends; however, not entirely rely on them. The goal is for them to feel safe around their friends but not vulnerable without them.It also helps to keep your child bait free- although that isn’t entirely the reason children are picked on. Nevertheless, heavy lunch money or expensive electronic gadgets can be avoided.
5. Parental intervention is not always necessary:
Although you may protective about your child, it isn’t always wise to interfere, even to have a talk with the bully’s parents. It’s necessary only in extreme cases with a serious turn of events that risk permanent mental/physical damage to your child. Do everything you can to make your child feel loved and comfortable at home. Nourish them mentally because this isn’t your battle to win. It is one thing to fight alongside them, and quite another to fight for them. It’s wise to let that option take a backseat unless called for.
Have you had to deal with your kid’s bully or faced a similar experience? Share with us the steps you took to deal with this situation, in the comments below. We’re sure it would help some other parents deal with the same.