It can be hard to decide what to do if your child is being bullied. On the one hand, you probably want to grab that little bully by the ear and haul him off for a stern talking to. On the other, you don’t want to stoop to the little brat’s level either. If your child is being bullied, it’s important to take action, so read through this guide for things you can do to resolve the situation.
It’s easy to write off bullying as typical kid behavior. After all, rare is the child who hasn’t been teased or made fun of, right? If your child is being bullied, it pays to sit down and listen closely to what he has to say. Let him tell you what’s going on, then ask what you can do to help. Obviously, you’re going to do what you can to make it stop, but if your child knows you’re willing to do what he thinks will be beneficial, he’s much more likely to come to you as the situation is resolved.
Now, before you do this, take a deep breath and go into with a calm demeanor. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking like the crazy mom who makes a big deal out of nothing. Explain to the teachers, principal or other administrators what your child says is going on and simply ask them to keep an eye out and help you watch to see if it plays out the way your child says. This way, you know the school is on your side and you can quickly get to the bottom of what’s happing.
Kids don’t have the concrete and abstract thinking skills that adults do, so it may be hard for them to realize that bullying isn’t their fault. Maybe they feel like if they were more likeable or better at sports, they wouldn’t be a target. It’s important for you to make it clear that the problem is in no way your child’s fault. That way, she can get on board with a plan to stop it without feeling like she has to change herself.
Sometimes taking a stand and asserting oneself can help a child stop bullying in its tracks. After all, most bullies go after kids who they perceive as weaker. Role play with your child to teach him ways to speak up and get the bully to back off. You may have to practice many times before your child is ready to take this step on his own, but it’s an easy way to give him the power. However, never advocate that your child take physical action, which may result in trouble for him.
Bullying isn’t likely to stop overnight, so it’s important to stay on top of it. Take a few minutes each day to talk with your child about specific instances of bullying, what she did to stop it, what the school did to stop it and any other progress she needs to report. This way, your child knows you haven’t forgotten the situation and that you’re not going to stop taking action to make it stop.
Stop! Do not call them at home or show up on their doorstep. As a parent, you know that you get
ultra-defensive when someone criticizes your child, so this is a terrible idea. However, you can talk to your child’s school about setting up a time where the principal or counselor can mediate a discussion about the bullying so you can speak with the bully’s parents in a neutral situation, which can help diffuse strong emotions and help you come up with a solution together.
Finding out your child isn’t popular or that he’s being picked on continuously hurts. A lot. While you no doubt put on a strong front in front your child, chances are you fall apart when he isn’t looking. Find yourself some support to get you through this difficult time so you can stay strong for your child. Your spouse, a close friend or even a therapist gives you an outlet for working through your own emotions without it affecting how you interact with your child.
Has your child ever been bullied? I’m lucky enough to say, “no,” but I feel ready should the problem ever arise.
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