Bullying has been in the news a lot lately due to the impact of social media. Bullies are no longer contained in one place that it can be possible to avoid. The pervasive nature of social media allows bullies to follow their victims into their own home.
Here are a few tips from experts, if you suspect your child is being bullied.
Don’t Blame Your Child
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be shocked to learn that there are people out there who blame the victim for being bullied. They will claim, with no facts to back it up that the child must be doing something to cause the other kids to bully them, but usually this is not the case at all.
Instead, make sure that you tell your child that they aren’t to blame and that it is not their fault. It’s never the victim’s fault about what happens to them. Bullies choose any convenient target to attack and tend to keep picking on victims that react in a way that they like, but that doesn’t make it the victim’s fault.
Don’t Underestimate It
Some parents and siblings think that it’s best to make light of the situation, but the truth is it’s one of the worst things that you can do. For a child who is being bullied, their life becomes a horrible ordeal that they must get through.
Instead, take the child seriously and let them know that you take it seriously. Comfort them and encourage them to realise that if others are teasing them, it’s not something you think is unimportant or that anyone should think is reasonable.
Don’t Let Anger Guide You
When your child is being harmed, it’s easy to get angry. This is most especially true when a child is being bullied and you feel as if the school and administration (or the other parents) aren’t doing enough to stop it.
Instead of getting angry, start educating people. Offer to support a program at the school to stop bullying. You can get these materials from various organisations including Bullying No Way – https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/contact-us/need-help-now
Don’t delay getting everyone involved to put a stop to it.
Don’t Hide the Situation
Even if your child is embarrassed by the situation, don’t hide it from the school or anyone. If it’s open knowledge that a certain child is bullying your child, even other kids will start to realise that this is not a good thing, and the bully may stop just due to positive peer pressure. This openness is going to help remove the shame of the situation from the bullied child.
Don’t Ignore the Problem
Many parents think that if they just ignore the problem, it’ll eventually go away. Unfortunately, if a bully is getting a response from your child, they may never stop until both are out of school unless you figure out how to stop it.
When you talk about the problem in the open, it’s going to be easier to solve. As a parent, you can’t ignore the problem because you’re responsible for your child emotionally and physically. Ignoring the issue may encourage even more bullying.
Do Support Your Child
It is true that often a bully picks a certain child due to their reaction to the abuse. They easily push the child’s buttons, making them cry or get scared. The bully loves this type of interaction as it makes them feel powerful. But your child meanwhile feels powerless and likely suffers from some PTSD, which will enhance their reactions even more.
Encourage higher self-esteem in your child so that they can resist reacting to the bully more effectively. Plus, encourage them to tell a teacher, find a buddy, and report to you anything that happens each day.
Do Immediately talk to the School
While it would be nice if class sizes were smaller, the truth is most educators have no choice but to try to control and teach 28 kids in a class (and even more in some places). This makes it hard to notice everything that is happening. That’s not an excuse; it’s the reality of the school system.
Talk to the teacher, the principal, and other interested parties and try to craft a plan to address the problem in a way that helps your child. The main thing is to show everyone that the bullied child is supported and that bullying will not be tolerated at school.
Do Take Action
If the school has not been able to address the issue, and you feel the environment is causing an adverse reaction in your child, the option to remove them is available. Many parents don’t realise that thousands of students are schooled at home, in every State of Australia. Not only can your child receive a great education in the home environment, but the support, love and opportunity to heal and develop as a person is provided.
After many years at Euka we have seen students who have been the victims of significant bullying, thrive in their education and social life. Home schooled students are able to make close and healthy friendships with other kids, without the fear of bullies. Most homeschoolers join interest groups or social groups that meet each week. Others form a small group that complete their daily lessons together (the perfect atmosphere of acceptance and friendship). Leaving the school system is not a sign of weakness but shows the child that strength is found in choosing options that build you up as a person. This valuable life lesson is carried with them as they grow and develop their self-esteem. Some kids find a year out of the system is valuable and may move back into school later. A large number find Homeschooling allows them to flourish into who they are meant to be, and allows them go on to study at university or thrive in the workforce, opportunities that may have been impossible if bullying was ignored.
Do give your child power
Often a victim of bullying feels powerless. This is vital to attend to, as the repercussions are lifelong unless addressed. By encouraging your child to be part of the decisions being made on how to address the situation, you will be taking the first step to helping them develop their inner power. Listen to your child. Share and discuss options. If you both decide that you want to know more about Homeschooling, why not schedule a group chat with an expert from Euka. Allow your child to ask questions or listen in to the conversation. Every step your child is included in, gives them the opportunity to know they have a voice.