How to Support Your Children in the Face of School Bullies

Sara is a first-year junior in high school. Every day, when Sara travels down the school hallway between her mid-morning classes, a group of girls teases her, pushes her, and throws her books out of her arms.

She wonders what she did to deserve their cruelty on a daily basis. She has never met these girls because they attend a different primary school than she does.

She cries herself to sleep every night, just thinking about having to face these females in the corridor the next day.

Bill and Jeremy used to be excellent friends until Bill began calling Jeremy names.

At first, it appeared like Bill was attempting to elicit a laugh from the other lads on his soccer team. To encourage the other boys to laugh, he would make fun of Jeremy.

He’s been doing it for weeks, but it’s become worse, and Bill now calls Jeremy derogatory names every day at their soccer practice. Because the situation has gotten so severe, Jeremy is considering leaving soccer.

Renee had a congenital abnormality when she was born. Her arm is deformed, and one of her hands has only three fingers. She is a first-grader in primary school.

When a teacher isn’t looking, a little child in her class makes fun of her arm and mimics her arm movements and reduced arm effect. Renee sobs at home after school, saying she no longer wants to attend school.

Her parents are perplexed because she has been pleading with them to send her to school for years. She is now old enough to be enrolled in elementary school, but after only one month of attendance, she has decided not to continue. Her parents are baffled as to why she is agitated and refuses to go to school.
Bullying can take many forms. These are just three examples. Bullying can take many forms, both in terms of behavior and setting. Parents must understand the difference between “kids just being kids” and “kids just being kids.”

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. Bullying Defined
  2. Intervention
  3. Bullying Can Have Serious Effects
  4. Signs of Bullying
  5. How to Help Your Kids
  6. Be There for Your Child
  7. Final Thoughts

1. Bullying Defined

Bullying is defined as a pattern of behavior that causes harm to another child. The girls who pick on Sara in the hallway, for example, bully her every day by spilling her books, pushing her, and shoving her. 
Bullying, on the other hand, is not usually physical.

In the case of Jeremy, for example, his teammate Bill is tormenting him by continuously calling him names. 
The United States government hosts StopBullying.gov, a website dedicated to bullying. The following is a clear definition of bullying from this website:  [1] 

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems. In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include [an imbalance of power and repetition].An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people. Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Bullying is aggressive, mean, and/or unwanted behavior that happens repeatedly to a child.

2. Intervention

Bullying, particularly among children, necessitates prompt action. If your child decides that they no longer want to go to school or stop participating in an activity, you should talk to them about it. Sit down with your child and inquire about their current situation.

So that your child may open up to you, express compassion, empathy, and care in your words and tone of voice. You’ll never know if they’re being bullied unless they open up to you and tell you what’s going on in their lives.

Because they are humiliated by the bullying, some children do not share right away. Others are terrified of the bully, so they don’t notify their parents.

They are afraid that if they tell, the bully’s rage would grow. Parents should be concerned about this as well.

Any intervention must be successful in removing the bully’s threat. The intervention has failed if reporting the matter makes the bully’s behavior worse.

Talk to School Leadership

When a bullying scenario arises, parents should contact school authorities, such as the teacher, counsellor, or principal. If the bullying occurs at school, the faculty should be informed so that they can intervene.

The majority of schools have rules and procedures in place to deal with bullies. Separating the pupils so they don’t interact could be one of these things.

In Renee’s case, the boy who teases her about her arm might be moved away from the school table they currently share. He’d be relegated to a different section of the classroom, where he wouldn’t be able to converse with Renee or make fun of her.

The counselor would next speak with the youngster about how his acts are cruel and why he should not mock others.

If the kid’s behavior continues, the instructor and administration may have to impose repercussions, such as expulsion from class or suspension, that are made known to the student and his parent.

In many cases, limiting the option for children to engage is the most effective strategy to stop bullying. Bullying behavior is halted when the bully is denied the ability to contact or communicate with the victim.

This is why, in many cases of bullying, parents must enlist the help of school personnel (if it is happening at school).

Parents have no control over where their children sit in class. The school, on the other hand, has the authority to rearrange the seating arrangements in the classroom.

Parents should speak with the school about the bullying so that appropriate actions, such as removing the bully from their victim, can be implemented.

Parents

Parents are their children’s biggest supporters. Who will defend their child if their parents do not act? When a youngster discloses a bullying scenario, the parents must take the information seriously.

Unfortunately, many bully parents refuse to acknowledge that their child is a bully. It may appear and feel as if they have failed as parents.

When a child is bullied, a parent may attempt to reach out to the bully’s parent for help, only to be ignored. The bully’s parent may blame the other youngster or claim that their child is completely innocent.

This is why, if at all possible, intervention should take place at the school. Bullying can cause mental and emotional scars, therefore parents must advocate for their children’s protection. The sooner they can put an end to the bullying, the better.

3. Bullying Can Have Serious Effects

Bullying victims may experience despair and anxiety as a result of their ordeal. Bullying can have a long-term mental and emotional impact on a youngster. According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, both bullies and their victims are at an elevated risk of suicide. [2]

Suicide among teenagers and pre-teens has been on the rise in recent years. Bullying, including cyberbullying, is one of the leading causes of suicide among our children and teenagers.

All parents should examine the serious—and often deadly—effects of bullying. Parents and adults must intervene whenever a child comes forward to report a bullying incident that affects them or someone else.

With policies and practices in place, schools are prepared to manage these circumstances. Bullying can have serious implications, which is why most schools have put in place anti-bullying measures.

4. Signs of Bullying

Not every child who is bullied will come forward and tell their parents. Parents should be aware of their child’s behavioral changes, such as depression, anxiety, melancholy, loss of interest in activities or school, sleeping problems, not eating, impatience, and moodiness.

If your child shows any of these behaviors for two weeks or longer, it’s time to have a conversation with them about what’s going on in their lives.

A parent who fears their child is being bullied can talk to them about bullying in general. The parent can describe what bullying looks like or give an example of something that has happened in their own lives. They can clarify that the victim is not to blame.

Tell the child that if they witness other children being bullied or if they too are being bullied, they must inform an adult (preferably you as the parent). When a child believes that telling can assist the problem, he or she is more likely to discuss it.

5. How to Help Your Kids

You can and should intervene if your child is being bullied. You can do this not only through school intervention but also through assisting them in coping with the issue. 
The first step is to talk to the youngster about what is going on so that you can assist them to develop solutions to stop the bullying. You can’t help them unless you understand what’s going on. 

Here are some more ways that you can help your child who is dealing with a bully:

1. Advise Them to Avoid the Bully

Bullying frequently ceases when they are not exposed to the bully. This is why school intervention is frequently required so that the children are separated and no longer interact. 
If your child is being bullied online (for example, on social media), they may need to block the individual who is bullying them or put their own account on hold.

2. Advise Them to Walk Away and Not Engage

Many bullies thrive on reaction. The reaction from the person being bullied is what fuels their behavior. They may be doing it to make others laugh, or they do it to feel power over another person.

If the reaction from the one being bullied goes away, then the bully may become less interested.

You should advise your kids to not engage with a bully. Walking away without reacting is a good way of handling the bully.

3. Let Them Know It Is Okay to Get Help

The youngster should feel confident in their ability to seek assistance when they require it. If Jeremy continues to play soccer and the coach is told of the situation, and the bullying occurs again, Jeremy should alert the coach. 
He can do it privately after practice or, if possible, during practice with the coach off to the side. If Jeremy requires assistance to get Bill to stop, he must ask for it when it occurs. 

4. Build Their Confidence

Bullies frequently seek to bully someone because they perceive them to be weak or easy targets. Other times, a youngster is singled out because of a distinguishing characteristic.

Building your child’s self-esteem and confidence is crucial in preparing them to deal with bullying in the future.

For example, if a youngster in Renee’s new class makes fun of her arm next year, she will be prepared to shut it down by confidently defending herself with calm words that will dissuade the child from making fun of her again.

Parents have no control over where their children sit in class. The school, on the other hand, has the authority to rearrange the seating arrangements in the classroom.

Parents should speak with the school about the bullying so that appropriate actions, such as removing the bully from their victim, can be implemented.

5. Encourage Them to Have Positive Friendships

Peer interactions are important for children and teenagers. This assists them in leading a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Bullies are more likely to target a child who lacks peer networks and friendships.
Encourage your child to develop friends with nice, compassionate people.

Assist your youngster in developing these abilities. You can’t make friends unless you’re willing to make friends. 

6. Be There for Your Child

When their child is being bullied, one of the worst things a parent can say is “tough it out” or “kids will be kids.” It is failing them to not take their predicament seriously and to not assist them.

Parents must be willing to not just listen to their children and enable them to express themselves freely, but also to assist them.

Take the problem seriously if your child comes to you because they are being bullied. Bullying’s long-term consequences are not something you want to cope with in the future. Deal with the current issue to put an end to the bullying today.

Be ready to take decisive action. Take it to the next level if your school principal isn’t taking the problem seriously. Notify the school board or school administration of the situation.

Keep the information on hand, and make it clear that you want the bullying to stop right away.

If the school does nothing and the bully continues to threaten your child, be ready to remove your child from the situation or the school so that you can protect your child from harm. Above all, it is our responsibility as parents to safeguard our children.

Bullying is more than just someone saying something hurtful to your child once. Bullying is a pattern of behavior that harms your child, whether physically or verbally.

Allowing your child to be harmed repeatedly is not a good idea. Once you’ve discovered that bullying is taking on, you must act quickly to put a stop to it.

Get Additional Help if Needed

If your child has been bullied and is experiencing depression, anxiety, or other forms of emotional distress as a result of the bullying, they should get professional assistance.

You can discover a qualified therapist near you by going to Psychology Today and entering your location. You can also search by issue and therapy age on this page. This can assist you in locating a local therapist who can assist your child with their specific challenges.

Another website that provides more help and information on bullying is Bullying. They provide a free chat line for teenagers who are being bullied. If your adolescent is being bullied and needs more help, go to their website right now.

7. Final Thoughts

Bullying is a significant issue that needs to be handled as soon as possible, especially among children. If you don’t take action right away, it could cause long-term psychological and physical harm to your children.

As a parent, your primary responsibility is to keep your child safe. This article will assist you in assisting your children in dealing with bullies in order to keep them safe.

Reference:

  1. StopBullying.gov: What Is Bullying

2. Suicide Prevention Resource Center: Suicide and Bullying

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