Bullying has been in practice for many years now. Although, bullying is a demeaning act, still, a significant percentage has engaged in it. According to Niamh O’ Brien, traditional bullying behaviors have extended into cyber-bullying. Behaviors such as trolling, engaging in hate speech, and revenge posting has been on a rise. Being bullied is a huge burden on the mental health and self-esteem of the victims, which the perpetrator thrives on.
It is hard to speak to your child when they are at the receiving end of bullying. Sometimes, we tend to invalidate their pain and trauma by dismissing bullying as a bit of ‘leg-pulling’ which is tempered by adulthood. However, bullying results in permanent scars- more emotional than physical. Therefore, it is important to deal with the subject sensitively.
Bullied children are often averse to share about their painful experiences. They tend to bottle things up to a dangerous extent which can affect them permanently. When a child opens up about it, it becomes tough for the parent to deal with the situation and to respond to it. However, Podium School is back at it with some useful tips on how to tackle the situation. Check out the following section to know more!
How To React to Your Bullied Child
Children usually do not prefer to talk about their difficulties in school, especially when it is about bullying. It is because they feel frightened and embarrassed about it.
They think that it has only happened to them and thus, hesitate. Buts, when they do, it is extremely important to listen to every word of theirs carefully to assess the exact situation and the level of the extremity of bullying faced by them.
Once you have listened to them, the next step is to comfort your child. It is highly possible that your child might end up crying while telling you about their situation, because of which, you have to sit close enough to your child to comfort them.
Assurance and Reassurance
Assurance is an important step while dealing with bullied children. Parents need to assure them that they are not alone in such a situation. You need to make sure that your child feels better after talking about the issue.
Reassurance is more important than assurance. It is not enough to give an assurance once and forget about it. A child might require continuous assurance from their parents and thus, it is necessary to keep assuring them. You need to ensure your kid that you love them and will be always there for them in difficult situations. This will in turn strengthen the bond between you and your child.
Boosting Their Confidence Post Bullying
It is possible that they might feel bad about themselves as a result of bullying. One of the common outcomes is kids feeling insecure about their bodies and looks. As a parent, you need to boost their confidence. Maintaining a healthy routine along with a healthy diet and lifestyle would help in boosting the child’s confidence levels.
Eating a healthy diet and exercising daily would increase self-esteem which would eventually increase their self-esteem. Thus, it is fundamental to adopt a healthy lifestyle for your child to keep their confidence high, right from the beginning. To know more about how to raise a self-confident child, click here.
Never Invalidate Your Child’s Pain
As a result, a huge trend of victim-shaming persists in families, educational spaces, and social spheres where the victim was at the wrong place and ‘weak’ enough to allow the bully to tamper with them.
Know this- that blaming someone who went through a traumatic experience is unfair and even criminal with regards to them. If such a pattern comes from the parents who yell at their child for being a weakling, then the fault lies with them and never the children.
A bullied child is not the runt of the litter who should be considered weak. Therefore, it is important not to invalidate your child’s pain with statements like- ‘You should have been stronger.’ or ‘Hit them back if they hit you.’ With such statements, not only does the child receive a blow to their already dipping self-esteem, but they withdraw further into themselves. Therefore, deal with them sensitively and with empathy.
Talking to School Authorities
Since, bullying is an illegal act but a common practice, almost every school has anti-bullying rules and a team to tackle the problems related to bullying. It is the duty of a parent to report the bullying act to the school’s anti-bullying panel. This is because, it is possible that if a child reports against a bully, he or she might face difficulties from bully too as revenge.
So, in order to avoid unnecessary problems further, it is better for a parent to report the incident. Parents should take this step as soon as they come across the fact that the extent of bullying has been severe.
Also, before complaining, it is necessary that the parent reports to the higher authorities secretly. This needs to be done with a view to avoid further complications in your child’s school life. On the contrary, if a complaint is made public, then the bully experiences embarrassment, and they might cause further harm to your child.
Talking to the Bully’s Parents
When as a parent, you can see that the bullying has reached its extreme level, you should take this step. You should try to contact the parents of the bully secretly. This is again to avoid the bully knowing about it. If he or she comes to know about it, they might harm your child.
It is important to speak to the bully’s parents on a call to convey the problem. Later, both sets of parents can meet in person to discuss the problem in detail. That way, it would be a more mature way to deal with bullying rather than being impulsive and indignant.
Also, it is a significant point to tell them to treat the child(bully) in a sensible manner. To teach them in an emotionally and mentally healthy environment is necessary. Research says that children learn better and faster about behavioral patterns when taught in an emotionally rich environment.
To put it simply, it is important for you to communicate with your child in an emotionally safe zone where they can open up to you without feeling ashamed of themselves.
Bullying often stems from an experience of being bullied and a burgeoning inferiority complex. Therefore, the problem cuts both ways as while being bullied leaves children with emotional scars, but the bully also leaves with a bad reputation, and sometimes, the guilt is too heavy for them to deal with.
Therefore, dealing with a prominent issue like this would call for maturity and sensitivity. In event of the outright rejection of bullying by the parents of the bully or the school authorities, it is advisable to call an anti-bullying helpline. Podium School encourages the parent and teacher community along with children to help make places safer for them to enjoy the full potential of school life.
For more tips on parenting, check out the Podium Blog and stay tuned for the next update from us, right here!