Sorry Pat Benatar, but school is a battlefield. Between never-ending homework, stressful classes and playground politics, it’s hard for your kids to keep up with it all. Sometimes kids can be absolute nightmares, and they project their nightmarish behaviour onto your kids. If your kid is being bullied, here are some steps to stop it in its tracks.
Communicate With Your Child
Dr Brooklyn Storme from Cerebellum Consulting shares her advice. “Talk with your child about their experience of bullying. Keep the lines of communication open. Encouraging them to share their feelings with you can help reduce any anxiety they may be experiencing. Listen to your child and use your judgement about what to focus on and what to set aside because sometimes we can inadvertently make problems seem worse if we give them excessive attention. Your child may express a desire to stay home and it’s very natural for parents to want to protect their child from further harm and let them stay home. When we do this though, we are actually running the risk of giving the child a message that 'home is a safe place and you need to be protected from school' and then when the child eventually has to return, it can be a very anxiety-invoking situation that can manifest in all sorts of behaviours. Teaching your child about school action plans for dealing with bullies will help them to feel empowered. Ask your doctor for a referral to a School Psychologist so that they can teach your child about residence, monitor for anxiety and educate them about social skills. Make sure that they attend appointments with the psychologist regularly so that they have support.” Find out more about Cerebellum Consulting by following them on Facebook. If your child is experiencing problems, you should sit them down on their king single mattress topper and talk to them about it. Of course, don’t push it out of them, let them speak about it organically.
Talk To Your Kid’s Teacher
One of the easiest tricks to prevent your child from being bullied in the schoolyard is by contacting their teacher. If they’re in primary school, it’s most likely that they will have one teacher for the majority of their classes, so they can keep an eye on your child and any problems that can occur. However, a lot of schools can downplay bullying, which is a real issue. If this occurs, you should consider some of these other options.
Contact The Bully’s Parents
If your child is still being bullied, you should let the parents of the bully know. It may be difficult to do so, but it’s an important step to prevent the child from continuing the actions. From here, the parents can confront their children, which can then make the bully approach your child and apologise. It doesn’t always work, but it’s a start.
Coach Your Child To Approach The Problem Themselves
This is one of the most important steps to take. Although it’s something no parent wants to do, you have to step back, and let your child take the reigns a bit. Now, I’m not saying let your child fight back. This is not ideal. You should train your child to stand up for themselves, whether it be by telling the bully to back off, to leave them alone and to stop what they’re doing. Of course, there is a line between assertive and aggressive behaviour, so you should write down a list of appropriate responses.
Create A List Of Responses
The list of responses should be age-appropriate, and easy to remember, so your child can spit them out if they need to, and be confident about it. For children in primary school, simple phrases such as “That wasn’t nice”, “Leave me alone” and “Stop it”. You can sit down together, on your modern modular lounge, and write down some ideal responses. Practice together, so your child is confident enough to say the responses by themselves, without any hesitation. Claire Orange from Best Programs 4 Kids shares her advice. “Teach assertiveness – words, tone of those words and the non-word body language all need attention. Role play is by far the best way to teach a child how to do this. Get your child to stand tall, shoulders back, chin level and to look you in the eye. Decide on a short snappy response that’s not a story. “Cut it out!” or “That’s not funny!” are long enough. Work very hard to get rid of politeness forms – no please and no thank you. Your child isn’t asking, they’re commanding. Now focus on the tone. Is it whiney, overly dramatic, angry or aggressive? Try for calm and confident – getting the tone right is extremely important.” Find out more about best Programs 4 Kids by following them on Facebook.
Teach Your Child To Be An Upstander, Not A Bystander
If your child witnesses someone bullying someone else, it’s important that you teach them to not just stand by and watch, but instead be proactive and step in. Teach your child how good it feels when someone stands up for them, and teach them to learn the empathetic role of helping others.
Develop A Strong Sense Of Trust
Arna Van Goch from Horizons 21 offers her advice. “The best way to deal with bullying is very basic. It's about having a level of trust and caring relationship with your children. If they trust you enough to them without embarrassing them or making it worse, they will be more willing to share with you. So ultimately? This comes down to having an honest, open relationship with your kids. This starts from the time that they are young. By spending time with them and taking them seriously, they will trust you more. What does that mean? Don't dismiss them when they are trying to tell you something. Their stories are just as real and just as important as your day at work! If they have a problem they need solving, work with them to solve it rather than giving them the answer or doing it for them. Let them work through the problems together and be the support system and advice giver. By building this kind of relationship, you are going to set yourself up for future success. When they have problems, they will be happy to come to you because they know you will be there for them and help them.” Find out more about Arna by following her on Facebook.
Follow Up With Them
It’s important to keep a constant flow of communication with your kid when it comes to bullying. They may not have mentioned the issue for a while, but it’s important to follow up with them to make sure they’re handling everything well.
Bullying is a hard topic to cover, as every situation is very different from another, and the way each child handles it is subjective. Keeping a close eye on your kid, letting them stand up for themselves and teaching them how to be an upstander are some key rules to follow.