Bullying at school
Bullying can be devastating for children’s confidence and self-esteem.
If your child is being bullied, he/she needs lots of guidance, love and support, both at home and wherever the bullying is happening. Your child also needs to know that you’ll take action to prevent any further bullying.
Talking with your child about the bullying
If your child is being bullied, one of the best ways to help him is to listen and talk about the bullying. It’s also a good way to find out more before you talk to the teacher about it.
Here’s how to get started:
- Listen: give your child your full attention and consider talking in a quiet space. Ask your child simple questions, then listen to the answers. Try saying things like, ‘So what happened next?’ and ‘What did you do then?’
- Stay calm: this is a chance to show your child how to solve problems. If you feel angry or anxious, wait until you feel calm before you discuss the situation with your child or with others.
- Summarise the problem: you could say something like, ‘So you were sitting on your own eating your lunch. Then Sam came up and took your lunch box and threw it across the playground’.
- Let your child know it’s normal to feel upset: help your child to understand that her feelings are normal. For example, ‘No wonder you’re feeling so sad about this’.
- Make sure your child knows it’s not his fault: for example, ‘It didn’t happen because you wear glasses. Jo might have been upset about something happening at home. But that’s no excuse for it.’
The next step is showing your child that you care and will help:
- Agree that there’s a problem: for example, ‘It’s not OK for someone to treat you like that’.
- Praise your child: telling you about the bullying might not have been easy for your child. Praise will encourage her to keep sharing problems with you. For example, ‘I’m really pleased that you’ve told me about this’.
- Make it clear that you’ll help: for example, ‘It sounds like things haven’t been so good. Let’s think about some things we could do to make it better’.
- Avoid negative comments: it won’t help to say things like, ‘You need to stand up for yourself’ or ‘You poor thing. Never mind, you can stay home’.
And if your child understands why some children bully, it might help him realise the situation isn’t his fault. For example, you could tell your child that the bully might:
- be copying other people, and not know that bullying is wrong
- not know how to be nice to other people
- have a problem and think that making other people feel bad will make things better.
Source : Raising Children Network