Is Your Child Being Bullied? 6 Ways To End It

No parent likes to think about their child being bullied or, even worse, being a bully but the fact is, more than half of all children are involved – either as a perpetrator, victim or witness. So, there’s a good chance you’ll have to deal with it at some point. If your child is being bullied there are things you can do to help them.

1. Speak with your child. Discuss with your child and help him recognise the signs of bullying. Trust your child and get all the facts and details. Be sure it’s not something that happened only once.

2. Don’t blame your child. Don’t put the responsibility for the bullying on him or try to find a reason for it; there is no good reason or excuse for what’s happening. If your child is being bullied, he is the victim, so trying to find a reason for why he’s “bringing it on himself” really isn’t helpful. Never blame your child because it makes him anxious and reduces what he’s going to tell you. Your goal is that he continues to communicate what’s going on.

3. Report the bully to the school authorities, be it his teacher or principal. Let know about the situation as they are often in a position to monitor and take steps to prevent further problems.

4. Use role play to teach your child how to stand up to a bully. We taught our daughter using role play how to tell a bully off and how to stop a bully. We acted out a particular scene and showed her how to react. Bullies tend to pick on people who they can get a reaction from; they choose kids who get upset and who take the teasing to heart. They also look for kids who won’t stand up for themselves, or who they can overpower. It’s important to teach your child how to react.

5. Contact the offender’s parents. This is the right approach only for persistent acts of intimidation, and when you feel these parents will be receptive to working in a cooperative manner with you. Call or e-mail them in a non-confrontational way, making it clear that your goal is to resolve the matter together.

6. Praise progress. When your child tells you how she defused a harasser, let her know you’re proud. If you witness another child standing up to a bully in the park, point it out to your child so she can copy that approach. Above all, emphasize the idea that your own mom may have told you when you were a kid: If your child shows that she can’t be bothered, a bully will usually move on.

My Personal Story…

When I was primary school, I had this classmate who also happened to be my seat mate. She was older  taller than me in stretches, so it was easy for me to be her target. She would comfortably push my buttons many times in one day. I didn’t report to the teacher because I didn’t think it was worth reporting, neither did I talk to my parents about it because I felt it was too trivial.

One day, she threatened to beat me up. That was her way of sealing up her prowess over me. The threats continued until I decided to call her bluff. The date and time was fixed. So, during our long break on the appointed day, we went to an empty classroom with another girl who was to be the referee. I must say that I was scared but I couldn’t back down. I was tired of being bullied and wasn’t going to give up without a fight.

We fought and fought. And she did beat me up. But I didn’t stop fighting. Even though she was gaining the upper hand, she was tired, but I wasn’t. I had long and sharp nails as a child. They came in quite handy as dug them into her face and neck repeatedly and didn’t stop. She was done but I was just getting started. I continued lunging at her aiming for her face.

In the end, she beat me but that was the last time she ever bullied me. My bravery ended the bullying.

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