Parenting Session

My child is being bullied

How do I deal with it? How do I talk with my child? (Be Calm. Do not over-react. Be Supportive. )

If your child has gone through a bullying experience, the first thing you need to do is give confidence to your child. You need to listen to your child calmly, without over-reacting at all. Show them your full support and never let them feel alone.

You need to ensure that:-

  • Your child knows that you are always with him/her.
  • The child is made aware that the fault is not theirs and you don’t blame them for whatever happened.
  • The child is made aware that the fault is not theirs and you don’t blame them for whatever happened.

The most important thing is your reaction. It is very important that you do not over-react. As a parent and a role model, it is imperative that you stay calm even though your child might be very upset. Children tend to pick up the reaction of their parents very quickly and respond accordingly.

A normal parent tends to react in one of these ways:

  • Getting Angry: The most common reaction usually is anger. If you immediately become angry and want to confront the teacher or the bully, what you are doing is displaying aggressive behavior similar to bullying.
  • React Passively: On the other hand you might react passively and put all the blame on the bully, which in normal circumstances would be considered perfectly reasonable behavior; but in the present context it may make your child feel powerless.
  • No reaction: If you do not show any reaction and brush your child’s concerns aside, you are implying that bullying is not important and would be a very negative reaction for the child’s self esteem.

Therefore it becomes very important that you do not over-react and stay calm. This will help your child to calm down too.

How to support your child: (Share experiences so that they don’t feel alone)

To support your child, the most important thing that you need to do is letting your child know that you are on his side and will be with him to find out the best possible solution.

Another very important thing that helps the child is knowing the fact that they are not the only ones to have faced this negative experience. You have to make them aware that this is something which happens to one out of six kids every other day. You can share with them that some very famous people including the likes of Bill Gates, Tom Cruise, David Beckham, Mel Gibson and even Sir Albert Einstein have been made to go through bullying.

While in school you yourself, a close family member or a friend of yours might have had gone through a bullying episode. You should tell them about such experiences. Hearing such true stories about the people they know closely makes it more believable for them that they are not the only ones to have gone through such a harrowing experience.

My child is being bullied, what action do I take?

Different types of bullying require different responses. If the bullying is a one-off incident, or involves mainly name calling, children may be able to handle it themselves.

In case they express an interest to do so, by all means encourage them.

However, in case the bullying is serious or is really widespread in a particular school, club or on the bus, it is better to seek help from someone in authority.

The ‘formula’ for dealing with bullying usually can be described as involving three steps. At times you will not be required to use all the steps and there might be occasions when you will need to combine more than one step.

Put simply, dealing with bullying requires you to do the following:

Make an appointment with the teacher.

Explain briefly what your appointment is about. This will give the teacher time to prepare herself by doing some investigations before you arrive. It is sometimes difficult to speak to the teacher immediately as she might be busy teaching a class therefore the issue can be addressed easily by making an appointment via Email. This helps you indirectly as the teacher will have the time to read what you have written and think about what you are trying to tell her. If you wish to email, you should make a call to the school administrator and ask for the teacher’s email address.

Check with your schools policies and procedures on how to contact administrators and teachers.

Always keep in mind that whenever you email or speak to the teacher, you must ensure that she ends up understanding what you are concerned about. Remember, if your real intention is solving the bullying problem, then your school principal will always have the same intention.

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