Most of us have been bullied sometime and it is no pleasant experience. It goes without saying that being supportive of your child is essential. In addition what you need is an understanding of how children think and base your actions on your child’s temperament. Here are 8 ways to help your child deal with bullies and prevent physical and emotional harm.
1. Look for Signs
Most children don’t come up and talk to their families about bullies. They may be afraid of not being taken seriously. So you need to look for signs of withdrawal, sudden aversion towards otherwise liked activities, or bruises and other signs of violence.
2. Encourage Talking
Talk to your kid about school and friends. Do not ask about bullying straightaway, you might send him/her into a shell. Approach the subject of bullying in an indirect manner. Tell your child about how you were bullied and overcame it. Drive in the point that if it ever happened to them, you can find a way through it together.
3. Understand the Situation
One way to help your child with bullies is to understand the situation yourself. A sound understanding of the exact nature of the bullying your child goes through is essential for coaching him about techniques to use against bullies. These techniques are practical steps that help your child deal with bullies. You can practice through role plays, where you play the part of the bully and guide him through the best technique to handle the situation without getting overly aggressive.
4. Teach the Child How to Respond
There is a three step tool to help your child deal with bullies. It is a catchy expression ‘talk, walk, squawk’ and is highly recommended by experts. It means when faced with a bully, first talk to him or her eye to eye, don’t abuse but ask him to stop. Next, turn around and walk away. It is important not to run, because this may make the bully feel more powerful. And thirdly, squawk to an adult as soon as possible. This may require you to identify an approachable adult at school.
5. Let the School Know
It is important to bring the school teachers and/or counselor in on the issue. You may choose to keep your child out of the picture. In case of physical bullying, discuss with the school the need to bring in the police if the problem persists or gets worse.
6. Follow up
With your child’s permission, have an older sibling or friend can keep an eye out and report back to you. Knowing there is someone looking out for him/her will instill confidence in the child and help him face the bullies with courage.
7. Go to the Law
Another way to help your child deal with bullies is by remembering that bullying is a punishable offence in many states and there are laws and policies. If you feel the situation is getting out of hand don’t hesitate to contact the legal authorities. You may want to keep your child out of this as it may be too overwhelming for him to cope with immediately.
8. Seek Professional Help
Sometimes despite all these ways to help your child deal with bullies, you may feel that the anxiety or fear he/she is experiencing may impede healthy emotional growth. Seek professional counseling to wipe out any lasting psychological disorders like low self-esteem or depression.
Your calm support is the biggest tool that will help your child deal with bullies, remember to ask for the child’s point of view on how to cope. Help the child but don’t smother him with assistance. We wouldn't have liked either, would we?
Top image source: babble.com