It would be much easier for parents if all children who are being bullied would tell their parents. Some children may not feel they can tell their parents they are being bullied. They might be embarrassed to share this information or they might be afraid either of the parents reaction or retribution from the bully if their parent intervenes. They also might be afraid their parent will show indifference. It is important that your children feel that they can tell you anything without being judged. Work on your relationship before problems arise so that your child will be comfortable coming to you.
No matter how strong your relationship with your child there is still the chance that they may not come to you. You may notice other signs of your child being bullied. Some signs may include:
If your child comes to you it is important that you maintain your composure. Do not scream and shout. You need to remain calm and find out as much as you can. Be sure to find out the who, how, when and where. Reassure your child that they are not to blame. Try to explain that sometimes someone bullies because they want to feel superior or be in control. A bully may have other issues and many things may be causing them to be a bully. They themselves may be bullied or mistreated by a family member or friend of the family. Children see bullying is often tolerated or seen as funny, both on television and in real life. A bully may target a child they perceive as different because of a physical challenge or other special needs.
You need to find out how your child is being bullied and who is doing it. Bullying can take many forms. It may be verbal in class, hallways or lunchroom; calling names or poking fun of relentlessly. It may be physical such as tripping another child or demanding lunch money or copies of homework. It may involve the use of a computer with emails or web sites such as My Space, cell phones or cameras cameras.
Once you know how your child is being bullied you can then determine what to do about it. Reassuring your child is the most important thing. It is not their fault. Have your child buddy up with a friend. Remind your child to walk tall and try to ignore verbal taunts. The bully may get bored and give up.
If the bullying is physical action needs to be taken to safeguard your child. Talk with the school, teachers and bus driver as needed. If the bullying continues seek out a meeting with the bully's parents. Arrange this meeting at the school with the principal and school psychologist or social worker.
If the bullying is on a website or takes place by phone contact the child's parent. Again if possible do this at school or at least in the presence of a mediator.
Many schools have instituted programs to decrease the likelihood of bullying. Children are taught how to react and the importance of talking with a trusted adult.
If your child has been the victim of a bully seek professional counseling if needed.
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