So, what about parents and bullying?
Parents and Bullying: Be Present.
Kids talk, you just have to be willing to listen. You can’t be at their school functions, in the classroom, playground, the walk home – but you spend hours around them day to day. Family dinners are important, but not always possible, so try to make time to at least grab a snack, have a chat, and PAY ATTENTION. Not every encounter with your kid should be a detective’s view into their personal life, but certain changes in behaviour are apparent and easily detected.
If your child returns home seeming distant or closed off, perhaps uncharacteristically assertive or aggressive, it’s possible they may need to get something off their chest, but they may not be ready to talk about it. The majority of bullying happens at school, or on the internet, these are both places parents aren’t always readily available – and thus are hot spots for aggressive behaviour. This too, however, means they are places where your child will most likely be on their own – this is why it’s important to talk, and make your attention available. Even though it’s easy to get caught up in the day to day, don’t close them off, listen to whatever they might share, and try to engage as much as possible. It’s not always easy, it’s not always pretty, and while you don’t have to go digging for buried treasure, your kids won’t hate you for asking. If you’re coming from a positive place, they’ll be able to tell, maybe not immediately, but eventually, your children will be thankful that you had an active role in their life.
The most important point in this step, is that no one likes being overlooked, if your child is already struggling with something, and unsure of what to do, being cut off (even inadvertently) at home may cause them greater anxiety.
Parents and Bullying: Educate, Educate, Educate!
Now, we know you’re not a drill sergeant, nor does anyone want you to be, but the most important thing you can do is educate, both yourself and your children. Times are changing, more and more each day there are different facets for communication – YOU as a parent need to educate yourself and keep up to date with evolving technologies and social settings.
In turn, passing good morals, and respect onto your children will put them on the path to better and more responsible decision making. It will teach them to do their best to stay neutral in hot headed debates and conversations, and to stand up for the right thing when the time is right. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, and so on, are increasing in their number of users everyday, and are literally a click away from complete social destruction.
This may make you feel helpless, disconnected, out of the loop. Here’s what to do! Don’t be a Baron – If you use these social networks KEEP YOUR DISTANCE, your kids most likely have no problem including you in their life online if you aren’t blowing them virtual kisses and fighting their technological battles 24/7. This way, you can openly see a problem with bullying, taunting, or ridicule if it arises, you don’t have to act on it right away, but this way you can offer personal advice at home, so that your child has the skills, and confidence to handle their issues on their own.
You’ll be surprised what some good morals and a little space and trust can do for a budding young adult. They CAN handle it, that’s what’s most important to instil, they have you to fall back on if they need, they have you support and love, but they can do what’s right, stand up for those who haven’t been able to, and remain level headed in their own disagreements. They have the power, they just have to realize it! Your help, can facilitate this.
Parents and Bullying: Just Love.
Step 6 is the simplest and most achievable for any parent. There are a million adversaries your children will face on their journey to adulthood, the most important thing you can do as a parent is to love and teach love. A child in a loving household will learn those traits and pass them on wherever they go. Not every home situation is the same but love and respect are things that should be inherently easy for everyone to accomplish. So keep your ears and arms open, trust that you’ve prepared them well for anything life may throw at them, and be ready to accept. If a child feels more comfortable and loved at home, he will be less likely to become a bully, or be vulnerable to aggressive emotional attacks in the future.