Bullying can be a large issue, and a self-propagating one at that. If you are concerned that your child may be being pushed around, harassed, or otherwise made to feel uncomfortable by others, you may be dealing with a bullying issue. Here are some methods to discuss with your child for how to stop bullying in its tracks. Learn about putting an end to bullying!
Putting an End to Bullying: Immediate Action
Sometimes the easiest way to stop bullying is with a clear and firm “no”. Eye contact is important; coach your child to look the bully in the eye and tell him or her to stop. Ensure that the message is said clearly and calmly. Teach your child to tell the bully that he is not okay with being treated in this manner, and that this treatment must change immediately.
Something to be aware of: when confronting a bully, one wants to stay very calm. Bullying can often be caused by the desire to “get a rise” out of the victim. Denying a bully this end goal has effectively defeated the bully’s purpose, but growing visibly upset at the treatment may be feeding into what the bully wants. In order to understand how to stop bullying, one must first consider why it is that the bully is acting out.
When coaching your child on Putting an End to Bullying, emphasize the importance of not escalating this situation in any way with his voice or body language. Your child should be prepared not to yell, not to strike the bully, and not to risk getting himself into trouble along with the bully (no matter how difficult this may be). It is certainly not worth it.
Help your child to understand that on Putting an End to Bullying, they should learn when to walk away from a situation. If he is feeling threatened or in danger, it’s time to turn his back. If he becomes worried about his safety, he should know to find a counselor or teacher to assist him.
Putting an End to Bullying: Finding Help
It’s not easy to deal with these situations alone, and no one should have to. Opening up to a trusted ally is a great step to figuring out how to stop bullying. An adult can help to handle the situation, but often times children are hesitant to open up about bullying issues. If you have reason to expect that your child is being bullied, remind him that you are a judgment-free zone. If your child is coming home with ripped or torn clothes, dirty knees, missing belongings, apparent anxiety and sudden low self-esteem, a loss of interest in schoolwork or activities, of if she seems afraid to go to school, takes a circuitous route to her activities, or appears sad/depressed/teary when she returns home, she may be a bullying victim.
Remind your child that Putting an End to Bullying isn’t something she experiences alone. There are plenty of other kids who are having similar issues; maybe even with the same bully! Talk to a school administrator to understand the rules surrounding mediation, or solving the problem. Don’t be hesitant to set up a meeting with a principal, counselor, or dean to look for assistance with the issue. Your child’s mental and physical safety are at the top of these peoples’ priority list, and they understand how to help without humiliating your child further.
Putting an End to Bullying: Prevention
The best way to stop bullying is to be a model of good behavior. Encourage your child to be such a model; if she witnesses bullying of someone else, encourage her to say something. If he is around a group of friends who begin to tease, pick on, or gossip about another person (whether that person is present or not), encourage him to tell them that this is not appropriate and very mean. By being an example, your child can help others to understand how best to behave.
Get involved with anti-bullying by helping your child to start a club at your school or local organization. A safe haven is sometimes what people need when they find themselves the victim of this kind of social attack; you can help provide that for others!
Raise awareness with a blog, letter to your local newspaper, facebook post, or twitter account. Get the facts (a good resource is stopbullying.gov) and spread them around so that others can understand what is bullying and how to stop it as well.