Bullying is a problem that has gotten out of control. It is essential that parents recognize the warning signs of bullying. Find time to converse with kids on the subject. It will be uncomfortable, but it is necessary. There may be subtle or not so subtle changes in behavior. Basically, it is just important to pay close attention to any deviation to a child’s or teen’s behavior. Taking action will go a long way to erase bullying.
Here are some signs that your child is being bullied
- Suddenly not wanting to go to school or attend extra-curricular activities
- Being more anxious and being over-reactive, unhappy
- Saying negative things about themselves
- A sudden drop in grades
- Bed wetting
- Bruising and bodily injuries, torn clothing
- Talks about committing suicide
- Stops hanging out with friends
Here are some sign that your child is a bully
- Being aggressive with others, especially siblings, friends, and animals
- Easily and quickly angered
- Physically and emotionally abusive to others
- Expressing a need to dominate others, especially younger and shorter kids
- Possessing items that are not their own, especially money
- Being especially secretive about where they have been what activities they are involved in
- Very little concern for the feelings of others
What can be done to help the situation?
The best thing a parent can do to help any bullying situation is to nip it in the bud before the situation can get any worse. Parents should create a safe and caring environment at home. In addition, parents can demonstrate how to deal with anger without being aggressive and lashing out at others. After all, every child as the right to learn in a safe and non-threatening environment.
Here are some things to help start the conversation to help a child erase bullying.
- If you suspect a child of being bullied, find an appropriate time in which to have the conversation. Will it be during a walk? Maybe on the ride home from the movies? Whatever the environment, make sure it is relaxed and safe.
- Use open ended questions.
- Listen to everything the child has to say and do not interrupt. Let them do all the talking.
- Don’t judge or minimized anything the child has to say about bullying
- Document everything the child says. Record it or write it down with dates and times.
- Always encourage the child to speak out their day and always take time to listen. Don’t try to make conversation if there isn’t enough time for it.
What to do if your child is the bully
No parent wants to believe that his or her child can be a bully. Unfortunately, it is this denial that feeds the negative behavior. Here are a few tips to help parents of bullies change their behavior.
- One of the first things a parent should be open-minded to the fact that his or her child may be a bully.
- Approach the child immediately upon learning of the suspected bullying.
- Be calm. Do not approach the child with hostility.
- Do not gang up on the child. He or she may be defensive.
- If possible go to a safe place to have the talk.
- Make it very clear that bullying is not acceptable and that such behavior will stop immediately.
- Ask open-ended questions and listen to everything the child has to say. Do not interrupt.
- Have your child take responsibility for the bullying.
There is a reason why a child will bully others. There may be anger, insecurities, or other things going on in the child’s life to make him or her act out in this way. For instance, there may be changes at home like parents getting a separation, a divorce, or getting remarried. A change in the family structure can also cause great stress for example, a death of a parent. The child may feel neglected because of a new sibling joining the family or because they are spending too much time alone at home. It may be a good idea to limit a child’s use of violent television shows, movies and video games.
- To achieve popularity due to their behavior.
- Having a lack of confidence.
- Bullying others to avoid being bullied themselves.
- Lacking skills on how to relate and empathize with others.
- Mimicking violent behavior expressed by others on a regular basis.
Unfortunately bullying has evolved from the classic physical and verbal bashing to include cyber bullying. Cyber bullying uses technology such as texting, internet applications such as Facebook., Twitter, YouTube, etc to harass and humiliate others. Cyber bullying is more harmful than other types of bullying because technology and the internet are everywhere.
Additionally, bullying can be taken to a much wider scale. It is no longer limited to a school, a neighborhood, or a city. Cyber bullying can take the humiliation to national or even global levels and encourage strangers to participate in the bullying. Here are a few ways parents can fight cyber bullying.
- Learn what social networks your kids are involved in.
- Ask for passwords to those accounts.
- Constantly check those accounts for improper conduct.
- Parents should know how to interpret texts or e-mails for example: OMG LOL I was JJA with you, GAL! WAM, I G2G – PAW! BB L8R! is translated as: Oh My Gosh or (God), I was Just Joking with you, Get a life! Wait a minute, I Got to Go—Parents are watching! Be back later.