Every single day, in every single country of the world, there are thousands of children and teenagers that are being bullied. This includes cyberbullying, physical bullying, taunts, name-calling, and so much more. If your child is bullied, it is important to step in and help. But, what you do can make the situation worse. You need to know what to do and unfortunately, many parents make very bad choices.
The most important thing to remember is you cannot deal with bullied children overnight. You will need to put in effort and show real support.
Signs Your Child Is Bullied
Many parents claim they did not know their child was bullied when the truth is the signs were present all along. Children often do not tell their parents what happens at school. This is because they feel embarrassment and might not know how the parents will react. It is often the job of the parent to realize their child is bullied.
Some of the signs you have to look for are the following:
- The child does not use the bathroom when at school. Bullies often attack in bathrooms because there are no adults or cameras present. As a result, you might see your child avoiding all areas that are not supervised.
- Losing some close friends without a real explanation.
- Getting upset when receiving an email, text, or phone call.
- Becoming isolated or/and skipping the activities they used to love.
- More and more time is spent alone.
- They make negative statements when referring to themselves.
When you see such signs, there is a good possibility your child is being bullied and you have to do something about it. Here are some things that will help you to properly manage the situation.
Carefully Listen To Your Child
Children do not talk to their parents about important things when they feel they are not being listened. This is why the parent should focus on making it clear that they do listen and they do want to help. The main thing to think about is how YOU can help.
It is natural to respond with anger but what you should do is be supportive. Try to be as neutral as possible when the child tells you what is happening at home. Reacting too strongly often leads to the child becoming afraid. Remember that our kids do not want to upset us.
Do not blame the child for what happens. Never look for reasons why the bully did what they did. There is no such thing. There is no excuse. The bullied child is ALWAYS the victim.
Do Not Personalize When You Were Also Bullied
Painful memories naturally appear if your child is now bullied and the same happened to you when you were younger. This can lead to simply trying to take on the entire problem in an attempt to spare the child. This is a mistake. Connecting about the similar things is definitely ok but not blindly sheltering them.
For the bullied child, what is very important is what responses come from others when they talk and share. If you take things personal and you overreact because of this, you will do so much more harm than good.
Do Not Retaliate
Here’s one of the most important things you will ever hear about how to help your bullied child:
“Refrain yourself from retaliating!”
We are talking about going after the bully yourself. It is tempting but you need to be the adult in the equation. Taking things into your hands will only make things worse. It will only create more conflict. Also, you will set a bad example for the child.
It is completely understandable that you will go through a wealth of emotions since your child is being traumatized. You want things to stop as fast as possible. But, if you get physically involved and you do it in a very bad way, like slapping the other child, you will not help your child grow. Helping your child to deal with the bully themselves is one of the best things you could do.
Teach Your Child How To React
Bullies are not strong. They are weak. They will pick up on those who are not likely to react. Usually, the bully will choose the child who will get upset and will feel bad about what happens. This is why it is so important to teach your kid how to react properly when being bullied. The basic thing to do is to teach the child how bullies can be avoided when at school and where to go when the situation is not safe.
One of the most important things is to work with your child on not reacting. Bullies will say very harmful things but with a little practice and maybe some roleplaying, your kid can learn how to not react. This will take some practice but it will help a lot.
Get Support For Yourself
While the child is 100% the priority here, it is very important to also get the support you will need. If the child sees you crying or feeling bad about what happens, which is a natural reaction since you love your child, they will think twice before talking to you.
Talk to your spouse and to your close friends. You basically need to let it out. This will help you to stay calm when you talk to your child, which is a very important part of heling them deal with bullying.
Say It As It Is
Last but not least, this is particularly important for the younger child. As a parent, you want to teach them to name things. In this case, the child needs to name what is happening as being bullying. This is very empowering.
Nowadays, schools put focus on bullying prevention and they do teach students a lot. But, this does not work when the child ends up thinking they are not bullied. If the child attaches this negative word to the situation, it will help. And there is a higher possibility the parent will talk to you when something bad happens.