There’s nothing worse for a parent than hearing that someone was mean to their child. We want to protect our children at all costs and in every situation, but there’s so much that’s out of our control.
The best we can do is teach them how to handle other people’s inappropriate comments, but we all know that can only go so far.
Bullying can have major psychological effects on a child, and it can lead to bigger issues like depression or addiction. So, before you reach the point where you need to start researching an addiction treatment center, it’s important to deal with the bullying your child endures.
In this post, we’re going to cover some steps to take if your child is being bullied.
Talk to Your Child About Bullying
Every parent should have a conversation with their children about the dangers of bullying. This should be aimed at helping the children understand that it’s not okay to make other people feel bad, and it should also cover the reasons why people bully and how it really has no reflection on the child. When you first learn that your child is being bullied, it’s important to teach the child that bullies are reflecting their own pain and insecurity onto others Hurt people hurt people, and that’s exactly why bullies bully. With this foundation, your child may be able to avoid taking the bullying comments and behaviors personally.
Talk to the Adults
If your child is being bullied in school, talk to the teachers and administrators. Bullying should never be acceptable, so be very clear in your questioning. You want to find out about school policies on bullying, when teachers and administrators get involved and what they are expected to do about it. And if you feel the teachers have dropped the ball, call it out. File a formal complaint. If your child is being bullied by a friend, talk to the other child’s parents. We hope that all parents will take bullying as seriously as we do, so this should have some impact on the child’s behavior.
As you talk to your child about what’s going on, you’re going to want to give advice. But your most helpful role is going to be the listener. Listen to what your child has to say without judgment or blame. Avoid telling your child that he or she did something to bring on the bullying behavior. No one deserves bullying, so try to focus less on what your child has done in the situation and more on listening and providing support for what they are experiencing and feeling.
Coach Your Child on Reactions
Now is the time where you can provide some constructive advice. Bullies thrive on the emotional reactions they get from their victims, so if your child can avoid reacting and act unaffected by the bully’s behavior, that bully is very likely to move on to another target before too long. Even if your child is feeling isolated at school, coach him or her to find peace with the situation knowing it’s temporary. When the bully finds that the child is unaffected, they have lost all their power.
Consider a Change
If bullying is extreme, as it can be at times, you may want to consider removing your child from the toxic environment. In many cases, this means changing schools. And if you find this to be your best option, you may need to physically move and research documents required to move your child to a new school. In very extreme cases, this can sometimes be your best option.
Every child will encounter at least one bully in their lifetime, and the way they handle the bullying can help them deal with bullies in adult life too. Just be sure to monitor the situation and your child’s mental and emotional health in the process.