Help Your Child Deal With Bullying
As unfortunate as it appears to be, bullying is a reality all across the world. A child might be suffering from bullying in school or in the neighborhood and yet his or her parents might not realize that it is happening to them. This is mostly because kids who are bullied may not approach their parents or teachers for fear of retribution from the perpetrators.
The first step in helping your child deal with bullying is to recognize the signs that he might be demonstrating in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways. These signs could indicate another problem so it is important to spot them and not react right away. Once you are sure there is nothing else at home that might be triggering these signs then you can take further steps to help resolve the situation.
Signs that might indicate your child might be bullied are:
- bruises, torn clothes
- making excuses to miss school
- preferring isolation, not meeting with friends
- not talking much
- poor performance at school
- lost possessions
- change in sleeping or/and eating patterns
- sudden behavioral changes
Some tips to help your child deal with bullying:
- Ask: Your child is unlikely to respond to you if forced to answer your questions. Be gentle and patient. Ask again if your first attempt does not get you any answers. It is important to let children feel that their parents are in their corner.
- Listen: Listen to what your child wants to say. Notice the unsaid things also. Hesitations, incomplete sentences, not meeting your eyes – all of these can reveal lots of important information.
- Reassure: Even if you do not understand the whole matter the first time, it is important for parents to reassure that things would be better from now. Assure them of the safety nets kids think their parents are to them. Let them know you will support them.
- Respond: But do not overreact. It is natural to feel angry when someone hurts your child. Refrain from approaching the parents of the bullying kid unless absolutely necessary. They are not likely to accept the information you are sharing and may take it as accusations. Instead meet with your child’s teachers and make them aware of the situation. If necessary have your child speak with a counselor or a therapist.
- Teach: Teach your kids to be assertive. Let them know the difference between aggression and assertion and that it is right to speak up when things are not right.
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