Name-calling, cruel taunts, cyberbullying and physical bullying happen every day to kids across the country. Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University. This is an alarming number for any parent.
What types of violence are most frequently encountered?
“Isolation is what comes up most often.” Said French therapist and author Emmanuelle Piquet, founder of France’s Chagrin Scolaire centres. Children tend to mirror each other’s action as a way to fit in. The bullied child is often seen as “too good” or “not good enough” to play with the other kids. The next type of bullying is name-calling. The bad thing about this is, there is no typical profile of a bully. Any child can become a bully and any child can be bullied. Nowadays, cyberbullying has been brought to attention. Approximately 43% of the students report experiencing cyberbullying during their lifetime and 15% of students admitted to cyberbullying others.
How you help your child?
Children might choose to hide being bullied to save face. It’s ultimately up to you to see the signs that something is bothering your child and encourage them to talk about it. Then be ready to take the appropriate action.
Step 1: Listen without interrupting
“Listen without getting angry or upset,” says Sandra Hiller, Regional Manager at Family Lives. “Put your own feelings aside, sit down and actually listen to what your child is telling you – then show you have done so by ‘playing back’ to them what you hear. Ask your child: “How do you want me to take this forward?” rather than just taking over so they don’t feel excluded from deciding what to do or end up even more stressed/worried than they were already.
Step 2: Contact the offender’s parents
If your child has been bullied for a long time by a specific child, it is the right approach to contact the parents of the other child. You can call or email to tell them, but don’t be confrontational. Make it clear that you are only looking for a solution. This will allow the other parents to work with you in a cooperative manner with you.
Step 3: Teach your child to get help
As mentioned, bullying can come from a group of kids. You must let your child understand that fighting back isn’t the solution. Teach him to walk away and be the bigger person. Getting help from teachers or school admins, or staying close to their own group of friends might help.
Step 4: Get help from the school
You can find a teacher or administrator at your child’s school who will help. The school should have appropriate actions to stop the bullying and create a safe environment for children to learn. When you report an incident, be specific about what happened and who was involved.
Step 5: Reassure your child it’s not their fault
There’s still a stigma attached to bullying and some children feel they’ve brought it upon themselves. You need to constantly assure them that it is not their fault and that there are things could be done to handle the situation. “Encourage your child to try to appear confident – even if they don’t feel it,” says Sue Atkins, former deputy head and parenting coach. Body language and tone of voice speak volumes. They need to understand that you don’t blame them and that you will find support.
Is your kid the problem?
When your child is the one teasing and threatening, you need to take action right away – not just for the sake of the victims but to nip this behavior in the bud. If you’re unsure, watch for these warning signs:
- Your child is impulsive and gets very angry quickly.
- Your child takes out his frustration by hitting or pushing other kids.
- Your child hangs out with other kids who behave aggressively.
- Your child fights bitterly or physically with his siblings.
- Your child has difficulty understanding how her actions affect others.
- Your child gets into trouble at school frequently.
If one or more of the above fits your child, have them practice techniques, such as taking deep breaths or counting to ten, to help control his negative emotions. When you see your child acting in a hurtful way, tell them to stop, remove them from the situation, and then talk about what they can do instead next time. However, if your efforts don’t make change your child’s behaviors, ask your doctor to recommend an appropriate mental-health professional.s
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.