Sadly, bullying is an issue that seems to be more and more prevalent. It is a very real issue, and one that deserves our attention. Here are some tips for how we as parents can help our children with bullying.
What is bullying?
Bullying is repeated, aggressive behavior meant to demean another person; it can be physical, verbal, or relational (intentionally cruel exclusion).
What are some signs of bullying?
Withdrawal from prior friendships | physical marks | change of temperament (becoming more moody/angry/sad) | lack of enthusiasm for prior interests | nightmares | reluctance to go to certain events or school | declining schoolwork. These are several of the more common symptoms of bullying, though other symptoms may manifest.
How should I respond when my child is being bullied?
We cannot overemphasize the importance of positive reinforcement from parents; we need to be supporting and encouraging our children. Knowing they have your support can go a long way for children. Talk about the issue with your kids - make sure they know it is not their fault other kids are behaving that way. If possible, remove the reason for the bullying (e.g. if the bully is taking a certain snack from their lunch, try packing something else). Also, bring the bullying to the attention of the adults who are around when this happens (bus driver, teacher, coach, etc.). Bullied children tend to seek isolation, which can worsen the issue. Help your child connect with other kids who will provide a positive environment for them.
How should I teach my child to respond to the bully?
Teach your child to ignore the bully. Many bullies do so for the feeling of power over another person, so if your child removes the reaction the bully is seeking, this may put a stop to the bullying before it can escalate. As difficult as it is, your child also needs to know not to escalate the situation themselves. Returning the bullying behavior with aggression of their own puts your child at fault as well; walking away from the situation and refusing to engage the bully helps focus the need for correction on the bully, instead of needing to discipline both children.
As always, if you have any questions or want more information, please contact either office and we will be glad to help you!