How to Discuss Bullying with Your Child: A Guide for Parents
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There is nothing wrong with children being teased by a sibling or friends once in a while. To note that this kind of teasing is done in a playful manner where it is mutual and both parties find it entertaining or as a friendly gesture. It becomes a problem when it becomes hurtful and unkind. Especially when the behaviour is repeated and no boundaries are kept. Children may not know how to discuss bullying with their parents. When you notice something of concern or a behaviour change, you might wish to approach your child comfortably.
Why Do They Bully
Bullying might happen for various reasons. For popularity, power, or to portray themselves as being a stronger person than the victim or simply for entertainment purposes. Some may have reasons for their behaviour, perhaps from what they have been exposed to as a child and to them, this would seem to be the norm.
Educate Your Child About Bullying Right Now
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Do not wait till bullying happens for you to talk about it. As there is a fine line between bullying and teasing, younger children may not be able to differentiate between the two. Have some time aside throughout the week to discuss difficult topics with your child, such as bullying. Bring it up often to serve as a reminder and to reassure them that they can tell you about it. Give them examples of bullying using stories, case studies, role-playing and what not. Get down to their level and explain the matter to them in words they can easily digest.
Signs Of Bullying
There are some warning signs you might want to take note of, besides the visible bruises or injuries that may be appearing on your child. More so because bullying can be difficult to identify if your child does not discuss it with you.
Behaving differently from their norm - more anxious, stressed, or moody
Changes in eating and/or sleeping routines
Making an effort to actively avoid or neglect something
If you suspect your child to be a victim of bullying, below are some suggestions for you to discuss bullying with them.
Have Your Child Be A Role Model
Have your child actively lookout for others who may face bullying and help them out by being kind to their peers or the victim. In school, they can be a positive role model by raising them for their class teacher. From there on, the teacher will be able to address the matter and take appropriate measures. By doing so, not only will they be less likely to unknowingly bully others due to peer pressure and other external reasons, but they will also be more aware of when they face bullying and will be able to differentiate bullying and teasing better.
Practising How To Deal With Bullies
Identify common bullying tactics bullies like to use and prepare your child on how to face these bullies. Have them craft responses on what the bully has to say. For example, when a bully decides to call your child names that are not welcomed, your child could choose a response they would be confident with. They could act brave and walk away to completely ignore the bully. By practising ways to ignore remarks which can be hurtful, your child will be more confident when faced with an actual bully. The bully is likely to not bother your child anymore if your child does not react in a very enthusiastic or interesting manner to the bully.
Teach Coping Mechanisms
If your child falls into being a victim, remain calm and remind your child that it is not her fault and that you are there for them. Help your child identify the emotions and allow them to talk about them openly. Never leave it to its course and assume that it will work out fine on its own. Reach out to your child’s teacher if you have reasons to suspect bullying or your child has confessed something to you. Speak with the bully’s parents if possible and help the children resolve the matter. It is important to tackle bullying since childhood so that they do not have negative impacts from incidents since young to affect their future.
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