What To Do When You Hear Your Child Is Being Bullied
Before we get started, here’s a touching and adorable anti-bullying ad Android ran during the Oscars. It will get you in the right frame of mind.
Bullying is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing just about every kid has to deal with as they grow up. As a parent, when you find out about it, you hurt for your kids in a real way. It can be easy to let emotions get out of control in those situations and act too quickly.
Here are some tips for how to respond when you learn about the next bullying situation that affects your household.
- Take their words seriously.
We say it all the time: one of the most important things you can do as a parent is to stay quiet and really listen to your kids. When they’re talking about bullying, don’t react too quickly and put yourself in their place.
- Control your emotions.
It’s easy to become angry when getting the news for the first time. You might call the bully’s parents or the school while still angry. By doing so, you’re making the bullying about you, and suddenly your child (who was simply trying to tell you what happened) is trying to calm you down.
- Do two simple things in the moment.
Get the full story and comfort your child. That’s it. If you’re upset—which you probably will be—vent to your spouse, a family member or a friend. By not overreacting in front of your child, they’ll feel comfortable letting you in on what’s going on in the future.
- Educate and brainstorm.
Some time later, after you’ve gotten the story and provided some comfort, talk to your kids about bullies. In essence, they’re cowards who hate when their victim develops confidence and self esteem. So, brainstorm with your kids on boosting those traits.
- Ask questions and give tips.
- It might be appropriate to ask if they’d like some counseling to help them cope with bullying.
- Bullies have more trouble when confronted with a group, so encourage your child to walk with friends.
- Once your child has built some valuable confidence, make sure they know it’s admirable to step in and help someone who’s being bullied. It’s okay, and it can feel amazing, to stand up to a bully.
- On social media and digital bullying.
This is a new and powerful aspect of bullying. Make sure your kids know to tell you if they’re being harassed online, and check in with them often about cyberbullying. You’ll probably have to educate yourself quite a bit, so read up on cyberbulllying and familiarize yourself with each social platform your kids use.
- Bottom line? Communicate.
If you educate yourself and have open, honest and calm discussions with your kids about bullying, you’re ahead of the game. Remember, if anyone in your family could use professional guidance on this difficult topic, Stenzel Clinical has a staff of licensed experts ready to help. Talk to us today.