Your child comes home from school and you notice that something is different today, they been dealing with a bully.
They seem more withdrawn. Then, when you ask how their day went they are evasive.
Finally, when you do sit down with them and ask what’s going on, they tell you that they are being bullied online or at school.
At this moment you can feel your heartbreak. You remember what it was like growing up. In fact, you may have even experienced bullying yourself.
You know that fighting isn’t the answer to dealing with a bully. Yet, you want to empower your child to handle this situation properly.
Consider then these five tips for bullying prevention.
1. Teach Them What Bullying Really Is
It can be confusing for a child to understand why a bully does what they do. That’s why it’s important to teach them that bullies are not simply trying to make your child’s life miserable.
They are searching for power and control in their own lives, which they are most likely are lacking. Thus, they try to find it in other ways. Even though this is an adult concept, try to make it relatable for your child.
For example, what are things that they like to do where they feel strong, powerful, or skilled? This could be anything from playing soccer to assembling a puzzle.
Then, ask them what would happen if those things were gone. What would they do then? How would they feel?
2. Introduce Bullies as Victims
Teach your child that bullies are often victims themselves. Thus, what do they do to cope with the fact that they were bullied? They, of course, begin to act out and bully others.
By teaching these concepts, you are highlighting some key points of bullying prevention. Also, you’re helping them to understand that when dealing with a bully, they’re dealing with a victim acting out.
- Bullies are people too
- They are often victims of bullying themselves
- Having empathy for a bully can help break the cycle
3. Empower Them with a Firm Stance
Of course, when your child is being bullied they need to know what to do at the moment.
One thing they can do is to tell the bully to stop the behavior. However, how they communicate this is key.
Teach your child not to get angry or to blow up with an outburst. This is actually what the bully wants and reinforces to them that they have control over your child.
Whatever the attack, calm and intentionality are important. Instruct your child to react confidently and firmly by telling the bully to stop what they are doing. If they refuse to stop, instruct your child to leave the area (virtual platform, room, playground, etc.) to create space between themselves and the bully.
4. Give Them an Alternative Action Plan
Usually, most parents tell their children to tell an adult, such as a teacher or you if they are being bullied. Your child, however, may feel hesitant about telling or “tattling” on someone and getting them into trouble.
Still, it’s critically important that your child tell an adult. Online bullying can be pervasive and unrelenting. This format in particular can lend the bully the control they want as well as anonymous followers who can make the situation unbearable.
Let your child know that if they tell a responsible adult what happened, the bully loses that control.
5. Encourage Them to Make Friends with Other Children
Bullies like to pick on the child that is alone or seems disconnected. Naturally, it’s harder to bully someone when the other kids stick up for them.
Encourage your child to make friends, try a variety of interested-based groups, and spend time with other children.
By having a variety of peer groups they will have better odds at dealing with a bully successfully than if they were by themselves. Also, it’s a helpful way to develop self-esteem and social confidence, also bully deterrents.
Dealing with a bully and practicing bully prevention can be difficult for any child. By teaching your child how to deal with bullying you’ll help them gain confidence in coping with this difficult situation.
If you’d like support in dealing with a bully situation or building your child’s confidence, read more about child therapy options please contact me today.