The last thing you want to imagine is that your child is being bullied at school. However, you might not even realize that your child is in fact being bullied. Many kids try to avoid confrontation and won’t tell you that something is wrong. Some bullies even threaten to intensify their mistreatment if their victims “snitch” on them.
So, how can you tell if your child is being bullied, and what can you do to help? Let’s take a closer look.
If your child is avoiding school constantly, you should check up on them and see if something is wrong. Complaints about physical issues like stomach bugs, avoiding school functions, and rushing straight home instead of participating in afterschool activities, could all be signs that something is wrong at school.
Try to establish a good connection with your child so that you know which of their friends they’re close with and which they might be having issues with. The first step to helping them with bullies is knowing that they’re actually being bullied.
If you discover that your children are struggling with bully issues, don’t freak out, get mad, and start threatening to call someone’s parents or the school. Often, kids don’t want to make a huge scene out of something that they find embarrassing. Instead, offer a shoulder to lean on and be there for your kids. Listen to what they have to say.
Bullying takes many forms. Sometimes it’s hurtful words and mean-spirited teasing. If the bullying in question is physical in nature, it’s time to step in immediately. Repeated and serious bullying needs to be reported to teachers, and, depending on the age of the children, might even need to be escalated to the authorities.
Try to teach your kids the right way to react to bullies. Strong, dismissive terms like “back off,” “leave me alone,” and “go away” need to be a regular part of their vocabulary when it comes to bullies. Teach them about body language: sitting up straight, looking bullies in the eyes, and standing up for their friends by telling bullies to take off.
It’s important that you also remind your kids that violence doesn’t solve anything. Violence can only ever escalate a tense bully situation. If things are turning physical, they need to contact a teacher or another adult quickly so the situation can be resolved.