Helping Your Children Handle A Bully

While the world “bully” has been tossed around for decades, it now carries a more sinister meaning as the problem becomes an epidemic in schools all over the country.  Kids are being bullied for their looks, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and just about anything else about them that is unique and different.  As statistics become even more horrifying, parents must be prepared with the latest information and tools to prepare their children for the bullying they may experience at school.

The Risks of Bullying

Over the last decade, some bullied students have chosen to end their lives rather than face those at school who torment them for things out of their control.  Although this seems to be the worst-case scenario, bullying has also been linked to several other risky behaviors throughout the life of the individual.

  • Poor performance in school
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Violence
  • Substance abuse
  • Low self-esteem
  • Thoughts of suicide

Types of Bullying

In order to help your child deal with bullying at school, or to educate them on how to stop others from being bullied, parents must understand that things are different now than they were in the past.  Bullying comes in several different forms.

  • Electronic – including websites, email, social media and text messages
  • Physical – kicking, hitting, tripping or destruction of one person’s property
  • Social or Psychological – embarrassment, exclusion or spreading rumors
  • Verbal – taunting, name-calling, sexual comments and teasing

Children who are victims of one type of bullying are more likely to turn their anger and anxiety on another person, making this a cyclical problem that can affect every child at school.

How to Help Your Child

As a parent, your goal is to support and love your child through any negative experience.  Bullying often requires you to take action before the situation becomes tragic.

  • Provide support and fostering open communication, encouraging your child to talk about what is going on.
  • Pay close attention to the situation and learn all that you can about the problem.
  • Teach your child how to appropriately get the bully to leave them alone without violence or retaliation.  Encourage your child to seek the help of an adult in situations that are out of his or her control.
  • Discuss appropriate uses for technology.
  • Always create a positive environment for your child’s self-esteem.

Parents who are concerned about bullying in their child’s school should take the following actions.

  • Record details of the event.
  • Contact authorities when appropriate.
  • Discuss your concerns factually and avoid extreme shows of emotion.
  • Keep a copy of the bullying policy from the school.

Children who are not bullied should also be taught how to stand up for others and report bad behavior when it occurs.