Child Bullying: Understanding and Taking in Charge

Most kids have been picked up over and over again by a friend, a group or a sibling. Usually bullying is not harmful when it happens during play time and if both parties find it funny. It becomes a problem when it hurts, turns into an abusive act, unkind and constant.

It is very important to consider bullying seriously. The effects might be harmful and can lead to major accidents. It affects both; the bully and the bullied. The bullied kid might find his health suffering and the bully grows up with more violent behavior which affects his life.

Research shows that kids bully for a variety of reasons. Sometimes to get attention, feel popular or in control, others for being treated the same way at home and some to appear differently in society.

What can you do if your child is the bully?

If you think that your child might be picking on kids in his school or in his town, you should act quickly.

-          Sit and talk to your child. Have an honest discussion with him. Try to know what leads to this behavior.
-          Don’t give him excuses.
-          Explain the results of bullying on the other child.
-          Make clear that you do not accept such behavior and enforce the house/family rules.
-          Get involved in his school activities. Enroll him in a sport class or music class.
-          Meet his friends and get to know their families.
-          If your child refuses to cooperate, consult a specialist doctor.

What you can do if your child is the bullied?

If you suspect that your child is being bullied, offer him support and comfort. Usually kids do not tell their parents about bullying behavior because they feel embarrassed or scared. They might think that the situation will get worse if the bully knew that they told an adult. Here are some tips to follow to help your child in a bullying situation:

-          Take your child seriously. Listen to him.
-          Praise him because he told you about the problem. Ask him about details.
-          Do not encourage physical vengeance.
-          Never ask your child to ignore bullying.
-          Make contact with the bully’s parents. They might help you to change their child behavior.
-          Work with a counselor or school supervisor to take control of the situation.
-          Be supportive to your child and encourage him to develop hobbies.
-          Do not allow your child to hang alone.
-          Help him to build his self esteem
-          Teach him how to defend himself against bullies:

  • Avoid bullies and walk away. Be brave.
  • Don’t get physical
  • Don’t show your emotions. Find a friend.
  • Don’t bully back.
  • Talk about it to an adult

Bullying is a problem. As parents, it is very important to listen to your kids and read their signs. You have to pay attention to any behavior changes and support them in any distress.  Always encourage your kids to have friends, learn and practice hobbies, find activities that raise their confidence and self esteem.  Let your child know that you are present any time he needs to discuss something.