HELP — MY CHILD IS BEING BULLIED
see what the bullies have done to others and don’t want it to be their turn next, so they join in. There are also those who don’t defend the victim for the same reason.
I have never been one to sit by and watch. I know how it feels to be that person who is wishing someone said something or stood up for them. It is also not a good feeling knowing you could have done something to make someone’s day a little brighter. It may be described as “sticking your nose in”, but other people may see it as standing up for what’s right. I always stand up for what I believe in. I would even stand up for my enemy if they happened to be in the right. No one should be without defenders. Often my opinions are different from others’, but who wants to follow the crowd anyway? Let your opinion be heard. I always stand up for what I believe in, and sometimes I do stand alone.
If you are the one who is hurting someone, stop, because you may be the reason they don’t want to come to school.
If you see that person you prankcalled or insulted? Say sorry and stop, because that might make someone’s day better. If you see that person crying over there? Go over and help because kindness doesn’t cost anything and has the ability to help so many people.
Every word you say to someone who is already down has such a big impact, so don’t hurt that person, because what you may see as a joke can badly impact on someone else. Sadly, one insult creates a bigger impression then one act of kindness, that’s why we all need to show lots of acts of kindness.
A few years ago I went to an adult netball session. Everyone was perfectly pleasant but no-one knew me and I was excluded from the action. I wasn’t bullied and I understood why I’d been sidelined, but I felt vulnerable and isolated. I told my grownup children that I wasn’t going again “because nobody threw the ball to me”.
The incident reminded me of how easy it is to under appreciate the strength of feelings that children can have to situations that may seem inconsequential to adults. When it escalates into persistent bullying, the impact can be severely damaging to a child’s self esteem, health, education and mental and emotional well being.
So how can you support your child when they are being bullied?
Be available : your child will tell you what’s going on if they know you will take time to listen to them. Let them know that their needs are more important to you than preparing the dinner by stopping what you’re doing and giving them proper attention.
Listen: it’s not easy to start opening up about hurtful things. Help your child to talk to you by acknowledging what they say; “They all went and sat on a table together and left you standing on your own. That sounds horrible and humiliating.” Children really appreciate you recognising what’s going on for them. You can then start to plan some safety strategies.
Build resilience: raise confident children by giving them age appropriate responsibilities and inviting them to take part in family decision making processes. Bullying can easily dominate a person’s life; maintaining other areas of activities and interests can help to remind a child of their value and capabilities. Good relationships with wider family members, friends, teachers, religious and community members also provide a diverse support network for young people.
Role play: practise some nonconfrontational responses that your child feels comfortable using, if they feel brave enough to. “Stop saying that” or “stop doing that” are easy to remember.
Take action: in agreement with your child, the relevant authority should be informed. Keep a diary of incidents if necessary and take screen shots or printouts of anything that occurs on social media. For dangerous bullying situations, it may become necessary to make a report to the police.
It’s potentially a long road with no quick solutions. Don’t give up. balabatishe