Dealing with your child’s bully

dealing with a bully is not easy- Parenting resources by ZenParent

When your child comes to you complaining that he/she is being bullied, what do you do? Your first instinct is to talk to the bully sternly and/or the bully’s parent. However, a word of caution – Analyze the situation to check if there is really a bully or is your child just uncomfortable in another person’s company and thinking that person is having his/ her say above your child’s?

Check out this article for ways to chat with your child and stay tuned to whether he/she is being bullied.

In our efforts to protect our children, many parents end up taking up their child’s fights. In the process, they end up making the child ineffective in social situations. These days, parents seem to increasingly have a tendency to take up for their children with their friends, friends’ parents or teachers even when the child is in the late teens.  If a child is used to such protection, then he will have a tendency to run to you when things do not go his way, even as an adult. So the first step in tackling a bully is to ascertain if the child is indeed being bullied or not. If your child doesn’t like a person, try and figure out the reason.

Once that is done, help your kids develop the skills to deal with unfavorable situations by tackling them on their own. We face bullies all through our lives. They could be a rude neighbor, a dictatorial boss, a picky teacher or a dominating spouse – the list is endless. This is a skill that needs to be developed in every child in the initial years itself.

talk to the bully- Parenting resources by ZenParent

As with anything else, tackling bullying behavior has to be taught from a very young age so the children grow up to be assertive young adults who will not be cowed down by a pressuring peer, a dominating boss or an emotionally overpowering partner. Here are some ways to handle bullying episodes in your child’s life.

1. Assertiveness is often mistaken to be impertinence in our country. This is revealed in “Don’t talk back to your elders, parents, teachers, etc.” statements. As a parent, I strongly feel that minor incidents of bullying should be handled by the child. Parents can talk with the child and ask him/her for the solutions to be able to handle it. When the child, from a very young age, learns to handle situations that are age appropriate, they become strong individuals. Of course, if the child is overwhelmed by the situation, then it’s time for the parent to step in.

2. If the child is not able to handle it, and relates yet another incident of bullying by the same bully, take it up with the responsible adult – parent, teacher or caregiver depending on where the incident is happening. Be warned that you will meet parents who are in complete denial and will throw back the allegation at your child. If you truly understand the situation as an aware parent, you will listen to both sides of the story and take an informed decision, because you don’t want your child to think that your will take up cudgels on their behalf even when they are wrong.

3. Sometimes bullying can be by friends of the child – like eating their snack, trying to copy their homework or directing blame for their activities on your child. If possible, help your child express her feelings to the friend who’s doing this – this stops undesired behaviour sometimes and also teaches our kid that communication is a powerful tool. In case, talking things out have not worked then encourage your child to make other friends.

4. Very often, parents tend to correct the behavior of the bully themselves, which gets the child into more trouble. The bully will then involve his/her friends in the scenario, making life more miserable for your child. Or the bully will complain to their parents and ask them to give you a call.  In such a situation, always inform the parents first if their child is the bully. Even if the parents do not accept it, they will question the child. This often makes the child correct their behavior to a large extent.

5. If the bullying is taking place in school, it is a good idea to inform the teacher and ask them to keep an eye out for confirmations of bad behavior and as protection for your child.  If your child comes home with marks of physical abuse or expresses fear of a certain individual, do not wait for even one day. Take up the matter immediately. Instances such as a basket ball being thrown at them, being pinched so hard that nail marks are seen, hard objects thrown at them, or uniform being splashed with ink are all signs of violence and hence, should be addressed without any delay.

Bullying is a long process; it does not go away with one or two episodes. If your child is truly stressed out because of this issue – like  bursting into tears without a reason, skipping meals, not being able to sleep, unusually irritable or silent; it is a very strong reason to take up the matter with concerned adults ASAP.

Image Source: via Google Images

 

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