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Is Your Child Being Bullied? Here’s How to Help

As parents and caregivers, we are often tempted to prepare the road for the child as against preparing the child for the road. This is why when a child has a brush with bullying, our first reaction is to intervene and sort everything out for them. While bullying may require parental intervention, it is extremely important to empower the child to be able to stand up to bullies. Here are a few positive parenting techniques that will come in handy whether the child is facing bullying in school or at the daycare.

Child being bullied

Look out for any changes in behavior

Children may not always tell you that they are being bullied. It is therefore important to watch out for any changes in behavior. Loss of appetite, trouble sleeping, and aversion to going to school, could all be telltale signs. Strengthening communication with children and bringing up bullying in conversations helps them open up and speak about it when they experience it.

Stay Calm

The number one rule is not to overreact when the child tells you that he or she is being bullied. It is important to stay calm and to listen to the issues the child is facing and respond to them with sensitivity. Remember that your outrage can translate into a greater degree of worry as well as a sense of guilt. Now, that is something you want to avoid at any cost! Since the child is feeling anxious and humiliated, a calm reaction will go a long way in soothing his or her frayed nerves.

On the other hand, do not dismiss their experience. Telling them to ignore it or that it is a part of growing up, does not do anything to lift their sagging self-esteem.

Empower the child

Young children are particularly afraid to stand up to bullies. They may even be worried about reporting the issue to the teacher for fear of being called a tattletale. It is imperative that you empower the child to stand up for himself. Above everything, it is important to tell them that the fault lies with the bully, not with them. You need to help them demystify the bully as the child sees the bully as a figure of authority. It is also a good idea to encourage them to focus on their friendships with other classmates.

Create a List of Responses

Arm the child with a list of responses that he can use to tell someone to stop his bullying behavior. These need to be simple and direct without aggravating the bully. Promoting positive body language will also help the child to stand up to the bully. Seemingly simple things such as maintaining a confident stance and looking into the bully’s eye are important while encountering the bully. You also need to teach the child to walk away from the bully as also to reach out to an adult for help.

 Roleplaying some actual scenarios can be a great way to build a child’s confidence.

Enhance the child’s self-esteem

Above everything, the effort has to be to ensure that the bullying experience does not impact the child’s self-esteem and does not lead to any negative impact on the child’s early brain development. To this end, help the child choose activities that he or she is good at. Indulging in things he can do well, will help the child feel good about himself. Also use coachable moments to convey to the child that while he cannot control the bully’s behavior, he can definitely control his own responses. Above everything remind the child that he has your support. Needless to say that at any stage if you feel that the issue requires your intervention, do not hesitate to reach out to the teacher or the school authorities and bring the bullying to their attention.

Encourage your child not to be a bystander

Besides supporting the child if he is a victim of bullying, it will also empower the child if he is taught not to be a passive bystander when he happens to encounter a bullying episode. You could teach the child to:

  • Be empathetic to the victim
  • Question the bullying behavior
  • Report the bullying to an adult

While we may not be able to protect our children from bullies, we can definitely help them build coping mechanisms to ensure that bullying does not create a devastating impact on their lives.

Post Author: Amita Bhardwaj

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