Bullying occurs for numerous reasons. People bully others due to jealousy, insecurities, or to gain a sense of power. Manipulation, instalment of fear, and even enjoyment are additional factors. If you suspect or know that your child is being bullied, here are 7 ways to deal with bullying that you (as a parent) can use immediately.
Constantly asking your child how they feel, changing their environment, and voicing the matter with others (like school teachers or parents) are just some of the ways you can help your child deal with bullying. Remind them how much they’re loved, share with them coping mechanisms to be able to deal with bullying at the moment, and don’t forget to mention to them why bullies bully others.
For parents who have never experienced bullying themselves; Learning ways for your child to overcome these bullies (and understanding the impact it can have on them,) truly is the best gift you could ever provide. Continue reading to learn 7 ways to deal with bullying, as a parent!
1. Constantly Ask Your Child How They Feel
Whether you suspect your child is being bullied (-due to bruises or other signs,) or you’re aware that they’re being bullied- you need to ask your child how they feel. Carefully listen to how they speak; noticing slight changes to their mood, willingness to provide eye-contact, and stance.
If your child is hesitant to address the bullying with you, encourage and assure them that you’ll listen without speaking. Let them know that when you’re next to them, they’re safe and can tell you anything.
When speaking with your child, hold them in your arms so they feel your love. Remind them that for the bullying to evolve; you must hear what’s going on and how it’s impacting them, to understand what actions to take.
2. Explain To Them Why Bullying Occurs
Explain to your child why bullying happens, what causes it, and why some people are targeted more than others. And even if your child is too young to understand, do it anyway.
Let them know that bullying is a wide-spread effect that occurs when other people (aka the bullies) are either hurt, angry, afraid, or fearful. In other words, it’s an outward effect of their internal-pain.
Express to your child that bullying happens to the kindest but strongest people. Doing this will both allow them to gain a deeper perspective on bullying, and possibly help them cope with the effects when they’re older.
3. Do Your Best to Change Their Environment
Changing the environment can help remove your child from the toxic environment for which they’re being bullied in. So if they’re being bullied at school, consider changing them to another school.
If it’s during a specific activity, like after-school care, sports, in dance- switch the dates or change centers entirely.
Although this isn’t necessarily possible for some, changing the environment and temporarily removing them from a negative space can physically help protect your child. Doing this can also help make your child feel safer and at peace.
4. Voice the Matter With Others
Don’t hesitate, as a parent of a child who’s being bullied, to voice the matter with others semi-involved. Share the hurt, pain, and suffering both you and your child are in. Allow others to recognize what’s going on, and inspire them to speak with their own children.
If it’s happening at school, attend committee meetings. Speak with the teachers, principle, and any other board members about the situation. VOICE THE MATTER.
Voicing the matter won’t only help your own child deal with the bullying, but it’ll remind others to get involved and force a stop from bullying to continue.
5. Let Your Child Know How Much They’re Loved
I’m sure you already do this, but letting your child know how much they’re loved during a time like this can be a make or break for them (without you having known). An extra hug, one-on-one time, or random “hey baby, sit down, and let’s talk while we wait for your favorite take-out” can mean everything to your child.
For the younger ones; Physical attention, kisses, and extra-long hugs can reassure your child they’re always loved by you.
Bullying (both one-off or ongoing) is an extremely traumatic experience, and showing that extra bit of love is one of my favorite top 7 ways to deal with bullying, as a parent.
6. Teach Your Child About Self-Love
As the bullies’ words can quickly become your child’s reality, and morph them into more negative space, teaching your child about self-love is imperative! Self-love strategies can help your child switch their attention to more important things, like their well-being.
No matter the age, teaching your child about self-love can truly help them deal with bullying. They’ll forever have this knowledge to fall back on. And instead of drowning in grief, they can turn to self-love to pick themselves back up (in conjunction with your presence.)
Find below a list of self-love activities to teach your child:
- Positive affirmations/mantra (you can also do this through song)
- Being with nature, and asking to go on walks with you to breathe
- Yoga or meditation (kid-friendly version)
- Deep breathing
- Writing, journaling, or drawing their thoughts
- Asking for a chat with you when feeling “down or icky”
7. Share Coping Mechanisms
Sharing coping mechanisms (in conjunction with self-love activities) are great ways for your child to deal with bullying in the present moment, particularly when you’re not around to comfort them. Coping mechanisms help your child feel safer, protected and cared for when around bullies or in a tense environment.
This is one of the best 7 ways to deal with bullying techniques that I’ve learnt. But remember, depending on the environment, different coping mechanisms might or might now work. Find below a list of these tools to share with your child below:
- Ignore the bully, Do not engage in conversation (This helps your child understand that bullies fuel off the answers we provide them, and silence shuts them down quicker);
- Seek help: Teacher, guardian, care-taker, friends, or a stranger. Inform someone about the bullies;
- Inform someone what happened; Let someone know what took place and in what form (physical, verbal, or both)
- Stay around others, and don’t wander into an area where bullies may easily target you;
- Scream or make a loud noise if necessary;
- Call someone they trust for further assistance;
- Take deep breaths and implement positive affirmations immediately.
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