Count Me in: Parents’ Guide to Preventing Bullying
Children often face the harsh reality, which is bullying, as they are growing up. No matter the age, whether they are young children or teenagers, they can sometimes fall victim to other children’s harsh cruelty in school or outside of school. As a parent, you can sometimes feel helpless because you A) may not know your child is being bullied by other children, or B) you do not know how to help your child avoid bullying and stand up for themselves.
There are various warning signs that your child is being bullied. It may not be as simple as you child coming to you for support. More times than not, they hide the fact that they are being picked on because they do not know how to handle it. It can give you, as a parent, a feeling of helplessness because you want to protect your child in every way, but how can you protect and help your child if you do not know they are being bullied? How can you support your child when you do not know how to fix their problem?
It is not as easy as confronting the child bullying your child. Sometimes it is more than one child doing the bullying and your child has to face these children on a daily basis. It can be overwhelming for a child who is being bullied, and it can be overwhelming for a parent that has to watch their child suffer because of other children.
So how can you tell the signs that your child is being bullied? Again, it is usually not as easy as seeing the affects that it has on your child. If your child suddenly becomes withdrawn or depressed, that may be a red flag that your child is the victim of bullying. You want to support your children in every way possible. You want to approach your child in a subtle way to show that you understand. Approach your child and listen, give them a sense of understanding and security. Maybe approach them like a friend, say something like “count me in.” Give them a sense that you care and that you know what it is they are going through. Bullying is mentally tiresome and can greatly affect your child’s social behavior and how they are performing academically in school. While you may not be able to stop the bully yourself, here are a few ways you can approach the situation. Give them a sense that you are there for them and you want to help, such as saying to them “count me in.” First, look for the warning signs. Here are a few red flags that may indicate your child is being bulled.
You may notice your child is not acting like they normally do. They may come home from school and avoid you. Because they are getting bullied at school, they may retreat to their room and hide away. Their self-esteem is often lowered because of bullying. Whether they are facing verbal, physical or relational bullying, the emotional effects can be harmful to the child. They often report high levels of emotional distress, which can lead to anxiety in the child. It is important they receive he proper help when they start experiencing anxiety because of the bullying. As a parent, pay attention to how your child is behaving. If you notice sudden changes, such as your child becoming depressed, talk to them. Show them that you understand. It is painful for a parent to see their child emotionally distressed because of bullying; however, you have the power to teach them how to stop the bullying. You want them to know that they do not have to go through the ordeal alone and that there is something that can be done about it.
Get Others Involved
As parents, there are many different opportunities that you may have to get other people involved. Whether it is your child, a friend’s child, or a kid in the neighborhood that has been bullied, you need to have the conversation. Talk to other parents. Brainstorm different ideas to create a united front against bullying. Figure out ways as parents that you can tell your kids, please count me in. Not only that, as a community, say count me in too!
Educating about bullies goes both ways, especially when dealing with children.What they may think is just making fun or making a joke, without understanding how hurtful it can really be. Teach them how to be empathetic. Learning how to put yourself in another person’s shoes is an integral skill that makes getting through life a little bit easier.
How to Teach Your Child to Handle Bullies
You should never entice your child to get into a physical altercation with the bully at school; it will only lead to further problems. Teach your child to ignore the bully. Typically, the bully is trying to get attention and your child’s reactions are only fueling the bully’s fire. Always remember: silence is deadly. The bully will eventually stop bullying your child because your child is no longer reacting. You should also help to raise your child’s self-esteem. While this may be hard to do, teach him to that what the bully says does not matter. Let them know the meaning of bullying. You can even play games and do some role playing.
Another thing that they need to be taught is to report bullying when they see it. That is a great way that they can show their classmates what please count me in really means. Children are often taught to mind their own business and not to get involved. This is the perfect time and the perfect reason to get involved. Being intimidated into silence is a form of bullying too! Silence does nothing but fuels the bully’s fire.
Bullying can be emotionally and physically damaging to any child. Your child should not have to go through such torment. Always pay attention to any physical or emotional changes your child may be going through. If your child is denying that anything is happening to them, make sure you give them complete understanding and emotional support. Children will often not tell their parents what is happening to them; do your best to get an answer out of them. Getting bullied can be very embarrassing. Give your child comfort so they know you have their back, give them a sense of security, such as “count me in.” But remember that silence is deadly. Teach your child to ignore the bully and eventually the bullying will subside. This is a problem that can only be conquered with a community that is willing to say, count us in and you can count on us to keep the children safe.