Fortunately, bullying isn’t something that we, at home, are having to think about. Yet. But Beaver is definitely starting to be influenced by peer pressure and I know that with three kids, we will likely have to address this somewhere down the line. But how does a parent deal with it? When, as their parent, you are so emotionally involved. When there are so many ways a child can be bullied because of the advance of technology. There are a few suggestions in this guest post. I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts on the strategies below.
How parents should deal with bullying.
Bullying can take place both verbally and/or physically. In the past, bullying used to be something that could be entirely controlled by schools but today, with the advance of technology and the power of social media, it has the potential to get out of hand, especially if not addressed immediately. If your child is being bullied by someone, there are various ways you can approach it.
Talk to your child’s teacher.
This is the first step that parents should take. Schools can always act as mediators between both parties. Many schools have a rule for intervening, especially when a child’s learning is being hindered by something as serious as bullying. When you talk to your child’s teacher, be very specific about how the bullying happened and who was/were involved. Try to be objective and stick to the facts.
Teach kids to diffuse situations peacefully.
If the bullying takes place at school, your child should always feel able to talk to their teacher. Assure them that it’s ok to speak to a grown up about it, even if the bully threatens otherwise. Bullies rely on fear to keep their power. Fighting back or taking matters into their own hands is never advisable. No matter how hurtful the insult is, help your child to understand that it is always better to walk away. In a world that is increasingly turning to war to solve disputes, it is crucial that we help our kids understand there is a peaceful way to resolve problems. There are many children around the world, especially in war-torn countries, that sadly don’t have that example to live by and who need the help of charities to allow them to live a more normal life, that we and our kids take for granted.
Contact the bully’s parents.
If bullying occurs outside of school and you know the parents of the bully, you might decide to contact them, if you feel that they would be open to the idea of cooperating with you. But remember that this is someone’s child and they will naturally be protective towards them so it needs to be handled sensitively without being confrontational or accusatory. Pick your time carefully. You’re probably not going to get the best reaction if you call at 8.00 PM in the evening, when they’re about to sit down to dinner or to watch TV. Far better to text or email first during the working day and ask when would be a good time to talk. Don’t ever attempt to have the conversation via text or email, as these can so often be misconstrued.
Understand the bully.
Sometimes, understanding the behaviour behind the bullying is the key to stopping it. It can be fuelled by anger, jealousy, problems at home or even viewed as ‘harmless fun.’ Help your child see that a bully isn’t always what he or she seems to be. Explain that there can be many underlying reasons why a child behaves a certain way. Suggest your child tries talking to the bully instead of reacting. Finding common ground is always a good way to initiate peace and you’ll be teaching your child the skill of empathy in the process.