Help! My Child Is Being Bullied At School
Navigating a world of people can be more challenging than climbing the most treacherous of mountains. We are governed by emotions and, unless kept in check, negative emotions can lead to negative behaviours that are detrimental to others as well as to ourselves.
Bullying is a national epidemic and the harmful effects on a bullied child can last a lifetime. If you remember that we often treat others how we are feeling ourselves, it's easier to understand how someone who feels the need to hurt another might be hurting themselves.
As people, we are like magnets. We subconsciously attract people who reinforce how we feel about ourselves.
Bullies, who have low self-esteem, tend to target children who have low self-esteem. Both parties deal with a lack of self-esteem or self-worth in their own way and both need assistance in changing this. Herein lies the first and most important key to stamping out bullying: improving confidence and self-value.
Consider enrolling your child in activities that build confidence. A bully is less likely to pray on a confident child.
Top tips for dealing with bullying:
- Help your child by becoming their safe place, ensure that you always have a non-judgmental ear to listen and a supportive shoulder to lean on. Help your child reclaim his or her power. Within each of us is the power to make positive choices. We can choose to internalise the words or actions of a bully or we can choose to stay detached and not allow these negative behaviours to determine who we are.
- Teach your child that it is not ok to be treated badly by others. Do not ignore incidents of bullying in the hope that they will just go away. The lower your child's sense of self becomes, the more intensely he or she is likely to be bullied. Remember that we cannot control the behavioural choices of others, but we can control how we react to them.
- Consider enrolling your child in activities that build confidence. A bully is less likely to prey on a confident child. Try drama, sports, scouts, dancing, art, debating and similar activities.
- If your child shows signs of being hurt physically by bullies, you need to ask their teacher or even the school principal for help.
- Do not confront the bully yourself. This will most likely fuel the bully into expanding his attack on your child. Confronting the parents of the bully can lead to negative outcomes because of the intense emotions that both parties are likely to feel.
- Schools need to focus on teaching children emotional intelligence skills. Remember, it is the bullied child as well as the bully who needs support in developing positive self-worth.
Bullying is never ok. There are no one-stop-shop solutions to the problem. We cannot ignore these destructive behaviours. Building self-worth is the key to long-term success.