How to deal with bullying
Bullying is a highly emotive subject for children and parents. If you think your child may be being bullied, the next step is encouraging them to open up to you about it. Many children will need some help from their parents to open up and talk about any bullying or issues. For expert tips on broaching the bullying subject with your child, read on?
Many kids who are being bullied (one in five, suggests research) will not voluntarily talk to their carers or teachers about what's happening. They will need some coaxing and to feel they are safe to reveal what they're going through.
Try these tips when broaching the subject of bullying with your child:
- Take time to genuinely listen to what's happening, making it clear they are not to blame.
- Acknowledge and show you understand their negative and painful feelings, taking care not to be dismissive.
- Offer comfort, empathy and support.
- You will also likely feel anger or sadness about the situation - try not to show these feelings, instead staying strong in front of your child, being careful not to over-react or under-react.
- Resist the temptation to rush out in anger to immediately try to solve the problem.
- Many children actually believe what the bully says about them - or somehow believe they deserve it. Talk to them about the situation and tell them that there is never an excuse for bullying, that no one deserves it.
Talk to your child about a plan of action - for example, talking to the school and seeking solutions.
Find more bullying solutions and information:
- Helping when your child is bullied
- How bullies pick their victim
- My child is a bully
- What makes a bully
- What is bullying
- Bullying definitions
- Facts and figures about bullying
- Is your child being bullied
- How to deal with bullying
- What parents can do about bullying
- When your child is a bully, here's what to do
- How to talk about bullying and cyber bullying
- Cyber bullying: here's what it is and how to tackle it
- How parents can prevent bullying
- School policies on bullying
This article was written by Fiona Baker, former editor in chief of Mother & Baby, Pregnancy & Birth and Wondertime magazines, for Kidspot, New Zealand's leading parenting and pregnancy resource. Sources include Bullying No Way, National Centre Against Bullying, Raising Children Network, and Bullying Hurts.