How To Help If Your Child Is Being Bullied
If you notice the bullying warning signs in your child or they tell you that they are being threatened and harassed at school or anywhere else, it is your responsibility to help them. A bullied child is unable to protect themselves if they are alone or if they feel that it is somehow their fault that they are being picked on by others.
Try to make your child feel safe at home, so they trust you enough to tell you what is happening to them at school and everywhere else they go without you. Bullying is not something that a child needs to suffer in silence. It can escalate too quickly into violence or permanent damage to your child’s wellbeing, such as trouble having trusting relationships.
The more you talk openly with your child, the better the chances are that your child will feel able to tell you the truth about their life and the more you can help them avoid the pain and suffering that can be caused by bullying.
Steps to follow if you think your child is being bullied:
- Comfort and support your children by listening to them.
- Stay calm while letting your child explain what is happening.
- Avoid blaming your child.
- Remind your child that no one deserves to be bullied.
- Find out as much information as you can from your child.
- Talk to your child’s older siblings who may know what is going on at school.
- Do not advise your child to fight back.
- Talk about problem-solving with your child by prompting and encouraging your child to identify possible strategies and solutions. Problem solving consists of first identifying and stating the problem, for example, "So, Bill knocks your book out of your hands in the hallway ..." then prompt and encourage the identification of potential strategies or solutions.
- Role play bullying situations with your child. Practice staying calm. Not showing any feelings will discourage the bullying behavior. Rehearse the bullying situation to teach your child to walk away and avoid anger and possible violence. Practice ignoring verbal abuse, concentrating on texting or acting unconcerned and running away if they feel they will be physically harmed. Help your child learn how to act unafraid and respond in a non-threatening manner if the bully demands some kind of reply.
- Notify school officials and make it clear that bullying of your child will not be tolerated. Get a plan from official that outlines the steps to be taken to intervene in the problem.
- Notify all adults around your child at home, school, and every other place your child is so as many adults as possible can help protect your child.
- Work with school administrators and teachers to create a bullying prevention program.
- Make your home a safe and non-judgmental environment so your child will feel always feel comfortable and supported.
- Keep communicating openly with your child.
- Discourage any bullying or disrespect in your home between siblings or adults.
- Encourage your child to participate in activities that build self-esteem and confidence. Your child should help choose the activities they want to join. They may include sports, clubs, musical groups such as band or orchestra, or any other group where they can make new social connections and learn new skills.