Unfortunately, bullying exists in your child’s world; but there are ways you can help. As a dad to 7 kids between the ages 9 months and 27 years old, I’ve learned the do’s and don’ts of handling schoolyard bullying.
Do: Teach your child the best ways to handle a bullying situation. If your own child is being bullied, teach them that the best method is not to provoke a fight; but to simply and calmly (as hard as it might be) walk away and find the nearest adult (teacher or principal) who can help you. If your child is not the person being bullied but rather is witness to another child being bullied, they can help by alerting a teacher or principal and being a kind and empathetic friend to the child being bullied.
Don’t: As a dad, it’s hard not to want to fight a battle for your child (figuratively speaking); but do not overstep your boundaries. You could possibly make it worse for your child. If you’re a concerned parent, call the school and talk with a principal or teacher and tell them the severity of the bullying situation. They’ll take the necessary measure to better watch the bully and give out consequences based on future actions.
Do: Talk! A lot! Talk to your child as much as possible about what’s going on at school, with their friends and their overall lives – you’ll be surprised by the things you’ll learn. Use the opportunity to build your child’s self-esteem as being a victim of bullying can often make a child feel puny. Discuss ways in which your child succeeds in school and at home and the things that make your child really happy. Be their rock. Build upon their strengths by giving them defense mechanisms like talking calmly, making jokes and more.
Don’t: Do nothing. Doing nothing does not work. And as a parent it’s your responsibility to do something to help your child in any situation. Be sure your moves are calculated, as your child will likely be watching and learning from your way of handling the situation.
Handling bullying can be hard, but there are ways in which parents should help by getting involved and teaching their children the best ways to handle situations. It’s important to be on the lookout for signs of bullying, and to handle each situation delicately and with dignity, as your child will be watching and learning from you.
Bottom line: teach your child to be a kind and empathetic human being who looks out for others and knows how to react and handle a bullying situation should they ever be caught in one.
Good luck and happy parenting!