Bullying is a major problem that affects over 25% of children in the lower grades, and 20% in high school. It has the potential to cause both short-term and long-lasting effects on the child’s self-esteem. If it was easy to stop bullying, we wouldn’t have such a widespread problem. Bullies have existed since the beginning of the human species, and unfortunately it’s not likely to be completely wiped out anytime soon. Of course, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Preventing even one child from living through physical and emotional torment is reason enough to do everything possible to put a stop to bullying.
Tips to Stop Bullying
- Know the warning signs. Victims of this silent epidemic may not come right out and tell their parents or teachers that they are being hurt, so it is important to recognize the signs. Injuries that can’t be explained, a sudden drop in grades, withdrawing from friends and family, nightmares are all potential signs that your child is being bullied.
- Talk to them. One of the best ways to stop bullying is to be an active part of your child’s life. Talk to them about this issue, listen to them when they tell you about a problem at school, and make sure they know that you are always there if they need help.
- Boost their confidence. Confident children are less likely to become victims than children who are unsure of themselves. Encourage them to engage in activities that they enjoy and are good at, and praise their efforts often.
- Be a good role model. Children learn by watching how their parents and other adults in their lives act. If you model compassionate behavior and show them how to stand up for what they believe in, they’ll be more likely to stand up for others.
- Don’t ignore the issue. Too often, parents and educators ignore isolated events, assuming that they won’t escalate once the children have a chance to cool down. Whether it happens once or many times, this epidemic is never okay.
- Don’t try to force an apology or reconciliation. Ignoring the situation is a bad idea, but on the other hand, trying to force the children to reconcile or apologize to each other right after the incident can actually cause further problems. Not all children are going to get along. If the children involved are clearly not going to become friends, teach them to coexist without bothering each other rather than trying to force a friendship on them.
When to involve the police to stop bullying
While many instances of bullying can be handled by the parents, students, and school administration without involving the police, sometimes, law enforcement personnel may need to get involved. These cases include instances that involve:
- Physical harm or threats to cause physical harm
- Sexual assault
- Hate crimes
- Robbery or destruction of property.
Everyone from parents to children needs to play a part to stop bullying. The short-term and long-term effects are too devastating to ignore this silent epidemic: bullying.