What do you do when your child comes home from school in tears because of a school bully? Watching your child struggle is one of the greatest challenges of parenting. It can be easy to feel helpless as a parent when it comes to helping your children with bullying at school. How do you the strong desire to crawl into your kid’s backpack and go to school with them? Here are a few helpful strategies to help you support your child at home to help deal with bullying.
It is instinctual as parents to respond with strong emotion. Be sure to remain calm as your child shares with you what is happening at school. You want your child to feel comfortable sharing their vulnerabilities with you. Ask questions like “What happened next?” to let your child know that you are listening. Try to avoid negative and emotional comments like “You need to stand up for yourself”.
One reason children do not tell adults about bullying is that they fear adults will not do anything to help. Talk with your child about ways they can respond. Talk about the reaction the bully is looking for (tears, angry reactions, arguments) and strategize how to respond in a way to defuse the situation. Role play and allow your child to practice their responses or practice walking away.
Protect their Self Esteem.
Bullies are most hurtful because they attack your self esteem and make you feel vulnerable or different. Talk about why people bully to help your child practice empathy. Try talking about how the child bullying may be hurting emotionally and the attention may help them feel better. Perhaps the child is not aware of how to be nice, or simply copying other children’s poor behavior. This conversation will not only build empathy in your child, but help protect your child’s self esteem. Let your child know that it is not their fault they are being bullied. Statements like “It has nothing to do with you, they may be having a bad day today” can be helpful.
Schools and classrooms take bullying seriously and many have procedures in place about how to handle bullying. Talk to your child about speaking to a teacher about bullying. If the bullying continues or is serious enough, talk to the teacher yourself. If maybe helpful to write down various incidents if you child reports ongoing bullying.
Unfortunately, technology allows bullying to follow children home from school. When we grew up, home was a safe place. Now, bullying may extend through social media. Keep an eye on your child’s online presence and don’t be afraid to screen shot any cyber bulling taking place. Establishing a technology free time, will also provide your child a break from constant social stress.
1 in 7 school aged children report being bullied at some point in time of their school career. For parents this can be a difficult situation to manage, as we always want to protect our children. Providing support for your child who is being bullied can allow them navigate this challenge independently and grow up to be a resilient and confident person.
If you feel as though your child may need to speak to a professional about their experiences being bullied or if you need support on how to navigate a situation with your child being bullied, book in a time to speak to a psychologist call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online. A psychologist can provide you additional emotional support and tools to get your family through this challenge.