Bullying is a problem that is as old as society. When your child is a bully’s target, it can be difficult to watch them suffer. Each new generation has to contend with techniques that their parents may not be familiar with. The proliferation of social media and handheld devices among young people has taken bullying to a place where parents may not be equipped to identify the signs and immediately help their children being victimized deal with the problem effectively.
Bullying is a no-win scenario. Not only are the direct targets tormented, but children who witness bullying are negatively impacted as well. They can feel trapped, not wanting to speak up for fear of becoming the next target. Parents, whether your child is bullied or simply shares an uncomfortable situation they have witnessed, bullying is a common behaviour that needs to be addressed quickly and completely by any adults with authority over the children involved.
When left unchecked, bullying can lead to depression among children and in the most severe cases – suicide. Parents, school administrators, and other adults in supervisory roles can take action to prevent incidents of bullying.
Promote a Healthy Attitude of Confidence and Self Respect
Children who feel accomplished carry themselves with a sense of confidence. When children stand up to a negative attack with confidence, they are less likely to be singled out. Bullies look for targets who don’t resist. Involving children in extracurricular activities where they can achieve successes by engaging in interesting projects will boost their confidence. Children can also connect with like-minded friends to develop their network of friends.
Many children can also engage in gardening projects that allow them to experience the fruits of their labour. As their gardening projects bloom, they’ll develop a sense of pride in their ability to produce tangible results. A child who appreciates their self-worth is less likely to take the jeers from another student to heart.
Teach Them to Speak Up
As children grow, they are taught to be quiet. As they grow into adolescence and confront bullies, children must be encouraged to use their voice as a shield. Not everyone feels comfortable responding to bullies with witty retorts. Sometimes that helps to defray the attention that bullies seek. If not, every child can speak up and tell a bully to stop. Resist with their voice and then alert the nearest adult.
Parents can help children feel comfortable talking about any troubles by not reacting emotionally, helping your child talk through strategies to address any problems they are facing, and then supporting your child by taking their concerns seriously. Parents may want to dismiss childhood concerns as youthful indiscretions. Children who are victims of bullying should know that their parents take the concern seriously.
It’s Okay to Walk Away
A simple way to diffuse a tense situation is to remove yourself from the line of fire. Children bullied need to understand that they can walk away. They don’t need to remain in contact with someone who is mistreating them. This also sends a clear message to the bully that your child will not accept mistreatment. Help your child understand that they can walk away and immediately alert a teacher or other adult in supervision.
If not addressed immediately, bullying can result in a host of negative emotions and experiences for your child. Learning simple techniques to address such obstacles can help your child grow into a mature, self-confident adult. Parents should be vigilant and ensure that the lines of communication between their children are open. Facing a bully isn’t something your child should have to experience alone.
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