What to do when your Child is Bullied?
First of all, you need to find out exactly what is happening from your child’s point of view. What form does the bullying take? Find some time when your child is not upset and try to address the topic as calmly as possible.
If your child has been physically bullied, do you feel that your child is in immediate danger of harm? If so, the first step you should take is to alert your child’s teacher, and also the principal, so that they are aware of the problem and can take the necessary measures.
If the bullying takes the form of social exclusion, name-calling, and the like, it is probably also a good idea to let the teacher know what is going on. You can also help to bolster your child’s self-esteem by helping them to foster positive friendships with children other than the bully, by facilitating playdates at home or in the local playground, and so on.
The age of the children involved is extremely pertinent to the approach that you and your child’s teacher can take. If the children are very young—say, up to the age of seven or so—they may genuinely be unaware of the damaging impact that bullying behaviour can have on others. When it comes to behaviours such as social exclusion, they may need to be actively taught not to engage in them. While the class teacher is probably already engaged in teaching the children about how to behave in social environments, some targeted conversation involving the children who are bullying, and the child who is bullied, can help.
In the case of older children and teenagers, things can be much more complicated, because older children spend time unsupervised away from parents and teachers, they interact with one another on the Internet after school, and they are much less likely to confide in their parents about the problem. Again, if you feel that your child is in immediate danger, you should not hesitate to intervene to ensure their safety. In some cases, it may even be necessary to consider changing schools.
Whatever the age of the child, when the bullying is first disclosed, it is important to react with calm and discretion. No matter how genuine their distress, your child is only capable of giving you their side of the story. For this reason, once they have explained their experience to you clearly, it is wise to talk calmly to other responsible adults (teachers, football coaches, and so on, depending on the circumstances) who may be familiar with the situation, to clarify exactly what is happening, and to put you in a position of authority whereby you can advise and help your child, and make the necessary interventions with respect to the bully or bullies who are hurting them.
WHO CAN I SPEAK TO FURTHER ABOUT THE ISSUES IN THIS ARTICLE?
For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.