Bullying: What You Can Do To Support Your Child
Bullying! We hear this word all too often but what can you do to support your child if they come to you saying that they or someone they know has experienced bullying?
- Appreciate that your child has shared this with you. It certainly can take a lot of courage so it is excellent when parents are able to let their kids know how grateful they are that they chose to open up and share with them. Let them know they did the right thing by sharing!
- Consider the severity of the incident or incidents that are being shared and be curious about the responses that your child had. Remember, staying silent and walking away is just as much a response as a kid standing up for themselves and saying something.
- Wonder about who at the school might be aware.. Does the teacher know? The lunch monitor? Principal? Friend? It is great to help your child build a team of support such as peers and school staff.
- Discuss what next steps you and your child can take. Remember to respect their wishes as much as possible. Sometimes kids just need to be heard and know that you understand their experiences and feelings instead of solving the problem for them. We want to help to empower kids and not inadvertently make them feel like we don’t believe in them and their ability to deal with the situation.
- If your child is open to it, explore some strategies that they can try out. Remember to practice/role-play these ideas at home. Clever comebacks can be an effective strategy. For example, the bully calls your child “Four-eyes” and the Comeback is “All the better to see you with”. Getting an audience is also helpful. Problem solve how your child can try to be surrounded by peers or staff whenever they are around someone that has bullied them. Teach assertiveness skills such as good eye contact, a strong and steady voice and good posture.
Remember, it is a great honour to know that your child has trusted you enough to share about their bullying experiences with you. Simply hearing them out and letting them know that you are there for them is extremely valuable.
Alicia Gillett, MSW provides one-on-one or family counselling to assist chilren and teens with the life challenges that they are facing. Book a complimentary 30 minute consultation with Alicia to see how she can help you and your family.