Has your child become the victim of a bully? – Immediate action is needed!
Bullying is a wide-spread problem, and it’s not to be taken lightly. Your child is facing the difficult challenge of trying to maintain emotional balance under great pressure, and she cannot do this alone.
How can you be supportive and help your child overcome bullying?
1. Make your home a safe haven
Do everything you can to make sure that your child feels safe and comfortable sharing her problems with you. This starts way before any bullying issues might come up. Your child needs to feel loved and respected by you. Otherwise, she might worry that you won’t believe her and think your reaction to her telling you will be worse than the problem itself.
2. Help your child maintain a strong support system outside of school
Aside from making your home a safe haven and being available, other outside support needs to be strong for your child to successfully overcome bullying. Strong ties to other family members who don’t live in the home is just as important. Also, a group of good friends who are encouraging can help your child feel that she has value and is loved and wanted. It creates a positive outlook in your child and lowers the chances that a bully will pick her as a target.
3. Assure your child that you will resolve this problem together
Dignify your child by listening calmly and carefully when she talks to you about the issue. Assure her of your support and that she’s not alone in this, and that you’ll be at her side to help her resolve this problem. Make sure you praise her for talking with you and emphasize that the problem isn’t her fault but the bully’s.
4. Teach your child how to overcome bullying
There are many things you can teach your child about how to overcome the bullying – but by NO means tell her to retaliate in kind. Assist your child to learn a “cool down” technique that will allow her to ignore the bully. If the situation – despite all of her efforts – still gets heated, tell your child to walk away quickly. You might also practice with her how to speak up for herself – without insulting the bully, stand straight, look the bully in the eyes, and speak with a firm and level tone.
5. Encourage your child to stick with a buddy at school
Sticking with friends at school has two benefits: a) there is strength in numbers and that might discourage the bully from acting, and b) if an incident occurs, the friends can serve as witnesses when school personnel get involved.
6. Together, inform school personnel about the problem
Your child might be worried about telling a teacher, principal, or counselor at school, because she might fear the bullying will get worse when the bully finds out she “tattled.” You need to take these fears seriously and make sure the school personnel will too by handling the situation with utmost care and tact.
7. Bring in outside help
Bullying isn’t a simple matter. Neither is there a one-size-fits-all solution. There are many underlying factors that drive a person to be a bully and many different types of bullying. The age of the children involved and the severity of the situation are also matters to consider when seeking a resolution. If you feel like the solutions you have employed are not working, you might need to consider talking to a specialist who can help support your child as well as explore appropriate “next level” solutions.