Writer | Mom
Recently, people have become more conscious and vocal about bullying, psychologists warn about the unavoidable consequences of bullying, and celebrities attract the attention of the public to the aggressive behavior kids have to face at schools.
The public is right – bullying absolutely has to end. Schools incorporate punishments and cooperate with police officers who inform children about the consequences of bullying. But the resolution of this problem lies in a child’s upbringing and his/her relationship with the parents. Children do get informed at school about what bullying is and how to confront the bullies, but parents are the ones who need to give their children a “defense against the bullying”.
If your kid is bullied at school, it is your responsibility to educate your child and teach how to stand up to bullying. If bullied, your child has to face a lot of aggression and is under a serious danger. So, what should you do to teach your kid how to stand up to bullies? Let’s take a look at some do’s and don’ts.
DO tell your kid that it’s not their fault
As a parent, I can tell you for sure that the worst thing you can do is trying to find your child’s fault if they get bullied. This will not only ruin your relationships but will negatively affect your child’s self-esteem, which can lead to horrible consequences.
If your kid is a victim of bullying, it’s important to emphasize that it’s not their fault. When the bullying has been going on repeatedly, your child might start thinking that there’s something wrong with them. A bully always chooses its victim at random and goes after someone who shows signs of weakness. Explain to your child that it’s not their fault that they are being bulled. There are rather some issues with the bullies themselves.
DON’T tell your child to respond in a physical way
Dr. Allan L. Bean, Ph.D., who’s an internationally recognized speaker and expert on bullying, advises parents to tell their kids to avoid a physical confrontation with a bully as much as possible. Instead, he says, teach your child, how to walk and talk with confidence. And if your child ever has to face the bully, they need to know how to respond.
If your child is being confronted by a bully, the best way to respond is to stand tall, look them in the eye and say “I want you to stop right now”. The bully’s response in this situation may be unpredictable: they may laugh, they may assault your child, but they will be thrown off the path enough not to hurt your child physically. No matter what the bully’s behavior is, be silent, continue looking at them, and in response say nothing else except “I want you to stop right now”.
It’s normal that your child is afraid to report bullying and violence, as they fear for their lives. It’s absolutely understandable: your child is living under the threat, and a bully’s behavior is always unpredictable.
Dr. Michele Borba, a renowned clinical psychiatrist from the U.S., advises parents to encourage their kids to report bullying. “If the adult is not present, it’s your kid’s responsibility to report bullying as a witness or as a victim.” She encourages parents to explain to their children that it’s their responsibility to report bullying. Tell them that it’s absolutely vital to go see the school counselor and the principal.
Even if your child is not the one who gets bullied, tell them to film or photograph any evidence of bullying instances and step up as a witness if it’s necessary. Explain to your child that they can report bullying anonymously if they fear for their well-being.
DON’T criticize your child
If in your opinion, your child has made a mistake by responding to a bully physically or did something that you don’t approve of, you should realize that it’s not your child’s fault. It’s more of your fault as a parent, as you didn’t teach your child to stand up to bullies.
Moreover, your child should be encouraged to talk to you about this urgent issue. And if you start criticizing your kid for the actions you consider to be inappropriate in this certain situation, you will only push your child away from you. As a parent, you should build a trustworthy relationship.
Criticizing your child can bring along some negative consequences. If you start mocking your child’s weakness or inability to stand up to bullies, it can also be considered a bullying, only a domestic one. Dr. Ashley McClary, a pediatrician at Mission Pediatrics, warns that excessive criticism at home can lead to your child becoming a bully. She urges all parents to analyze the situation from a more objective standpoint rather than simply criticizing your child for what’s essentially not their fault.
What can you do more as a parent?
As a parent of two teenagers, I’ve had an experience with my children being bullied at school. And here’s what I’ve learned:
- Don’t try to do everything yourself. It will actually trigger bullies even more, as it will show that your child isn’t able to stand for themselves.
- Tell your child not to mistake some friendship issues for bullying. Bullying is a continuous, repeated and hurtful series of events, so if your child doesn’t get invited to a birthday party because they had an argument with a friend is not an instance of bullying.
- Help your child communicate this issue. Help your kid report the issue to the school principal and, if necessary, to the police. You should understand that your child is threatened and scared. So show your support by helping your child go through this.
Don’t ignore bullying
Many parents choose to ignore that their children are being bullied, which can potentially lead to very disturbing results. Your child’s life is worth to fight for, so do everything you can to protect your child against bullying.
About Daniela McVicker
Daniela McVicker is a mother to her daughter Sophia and a well-known writer and a contributor to Top Writers Review. She is also one of the top contributors to the Rated by Students website, where she gives advice to the students on how to deal with everyday issues at school or college. She also has her own blog and a Twitter page, where she writes about such urgent issues like bullying and school violence.