How do you handle bullying as a family? There isn’t much at all that a child’s parents can do to prevent their child from being a victim of a bully, other than educating him before it happens. They can, however, be there to support him if he is a victim of a bully. A bully is someone who is aggressive towards someone else using physical, verbal or psychological means of harassment. In today’s world, cyber bullying has taken the top spot. Here are some tips on how to deal with bullying as a family.
Tips for Dealing with Bullying as a Family
Know the signs: Know you child and be aware of behavior changes. It may look a lot like depression where he is withdrawn or do not want to go to school. It may even start to affect him physically where he gets headaches or stomach aches. Talking to your child is very important, be very open and supportive. Reassure him that you will work with the school to stop the bullying.
Inform the school: Believe it or not, the school might not be aware of what is happening. There are so many students and not as many teachers, they simply can not watch everyone. They can’t stop what they don’t know is happening. Bullies do not want to get caught, so they are often careful to bully when they know no one is watching.
The cyber bully: This is a new breed of bully. Someone you and I never had to deal with in school. He is more of a coward than ‘the old days’ as he hides behind his smartphone or tablet. And there are more of them. Girls and boys and because they are hiding behind technology, they tend to say awful mean things. You have seen the tragic stories where kids have killed themselves because they can’t handle the bullying anymore. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and more forms of social media, the avenues of bullying are endless.
Anti-bullying strategies: It may be hard or scary for your child to do, but help to instill confidence in him to stand up to the bully with his words. He can say things like “You can say whatever you want, but it’s not true” and walk away. Using humor sometimes can alleviate a situation. Work with your child on positive images of himself to increase his self-esteem and give him the confidence to walk away and not let the bully get to him. This won’t happen overnight, but he can work on it with your help.
Outside friends: If your child is dealing with bullying at school, maybe think about involving him in some outside activities where he can make friends that are not at school. They can help to raise his self-esteem and keep him busy after school. Think about things like Boys and Girls Club, karate or some other activity not involving the school.
Support counseling: If your child is having trouble at school, find him a someone to talk to that is not you. Encourage counseling, it will allow him to talk freely to a neutral person. He may be apprehensive at first, and feel a little weird, but once he is comfortable he will more than likely feel better about himself and find ways to deal with bullying at school. He may even be able to help stand up for others he sees being bullied!
Bullying is not a part of growing up, it is not something everyone deals with, nor should they. The act of bullying has changed so much with technology, it is not just being pushed into lockers or having your books knocked out of your hands. It is very scary for kids these days and more than likely adults are not aware of it happening. The importance of being involved in your child’s life so they feel comfortable talking with you is key in helping to avoid bullying behavior and becoming a victim.
Has your family dealt with a bully? How was your child or the young person bullied? What was done to help stop the bullying? Share your stories with us below.