Empower your child against Bullying

Every parent dreads the day their child comes home from school and says “I was bullied”. It is a truly infuriating and sad feeling that makes parents feel both defensive and helpless at the same time. I will never forget the day my daughter told me she was getting picked on by some classmates and didn’t want to go to school anymore. I felt like I wanted to walk to protect her and keep her with me forever. And as our children get older, they are exposed to different people and can experience many types of bullying such as verbal or physical or even exclusion.  In today’s modern world, bullying does not end when the school bell rings. It is continued at home using gadgets and social media, which is affecting children in alarming rates and removing any sense of safety they might feel at home.

What concerns parents the most is when a child is being bullied and hides it. Sometimes children do not understand bullying or why it is happening to them and at other times they feel scared to share with their parents and be subject to more bullying and teasing if the issue is discussed openly. Parents often find themselves searching for answers when they notice sudden changes in their child’s behavior such as aggressiveness or mood swings or refusal to eat.

As parents, we cannot bully-proof our child, but we can help them deal with it and provide them with the right tools to protect themselves and ask for help. The first step is awareness and understanding of bullying and why other kids resort to that in order to help your child deal with bullies and not participate in bullying themselves. It is imperative that children understand the dangers associated with feeling helpless and picked on as many kids who are bullied end up bullying others as a coping tool.

There are many ways parents can help their kids become more resilient towards bullying and most importantly not become a bully themselves:

  1. Self-confidence: It is widely understood that the more confident the child is the less susceptible he/she is from bullying. Self-confidence gives the child the ability to handle most situations were bullying arises if not on the spot, but rather will be better suited to handle the psychological aspect afterwards.
  2. Communication: It is key that parents communicate and educate their children about bullying and bullying personas. Once a child better understands the reasoning why this act occurs, they can handle the situation in a more confident and calm manner This can also help with preventing the child form becoming a bully.
  3. Role-play: In certain circumstances children on either side of the spectrum (whether bullies or are being bullied) can learn a lot from role play. This can teach them empathy towards others and the power of kindness. It also develops their skills to maneuver through bully situations.
  4. Awareness: Teaching children about bullying is key. The more they know, the stronger they are against it. Children should know that they might face these circumstances so that they are aware and therefore ready to face it.
  5. Support from Peers: Encourage the child to seek help and support from his/her friends and teachers when needed and to intervene to help his/her friends if they witness an act of bullying.

The most important thing a parent can do is be there for their child when they are facing a difficult situation and provide all the support they can. Bullying is an ongoing issue that is yet to be a thing of the past. Fingers crossed!

 

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