Brave the Bully - How to help your child if he is being bullied in school
Bullies are one the modern schools best kept secrets. As much as you as a parent would like to believe that your child will not have to deal with it in his school, the truth is that it is very much a reality in modern times. Contrary to popular belief bullying is not limited to older kids it is shockingly prevalent in as young as primary school kids. Being bullied can be a traumatic experience for your child and may even hamper his mental and emotional development. Here are some ways in which you can help your child.
Find out if he is actually being bullied: Many a times your child may be terrified of his tormentors to speak up. It would be wise for you as parents to watch your child for any signs that he may exhibit.
If your child who previously had no problems with going to school suddenly develops an aversion to the idea of going to school and tries to make up lame excuses like a feigned stomach ache or insists that he doesn’t want to go there it might be a good idea to probe further to find out the actual cause. Many a times your child may feel that it is better to avoid going to school and being humiliated again.
If your child’s things magically disappear from his bag constantly or he keeps asking for expensive things to ‘gift’ his friends or he has difficulty concentrating on his lessons then it may warrant some attention from you.
Changes in behaviour also demand some attention from you. For instance if your normally happy bubbly child appears nervous or listless and he appears dis-interested in activities that usually excite him like an outing then gently probe for the reasons. He may even have some unexplained injuries.
Remember that although these signs may not necessarily mean that your child is being bullied it may be a good idea to investigate. Talk to your child in a way that it does not intimidate him and heightens his stress. Console and comfort your child first. It is vital that he trusts you enough to open up. Once you have a fair idea about what is going on you will be in apposition to help your held in a better way.
Take appropriate action: Once you have confirmed that your child is being bullied, find out the nature of the abuse. Is it physical like hitting pinching kicking etc or verbal abuse which can translate to name calling insulting etc?
The first practical thing for you as a parent to do at this point would be to talk to your child’s class teacher. Voice your concerns to her and chances are that she may help your child out with you actually having to get involved.
Teach your child how to deal with bullies. Sit with him and talk to him about the whole incident. Recount stories on how you had to face a similar situation and what you did. Practice at home on what he would do if he encounters a bully. This will boost his confidence to a certain extent.
Teach him strategies on how to cope with bullying... He can adopt strategies like never going anywhere alone; walking away from the bully and not getting instigated and fights back as this may worsen the situation although he must defend himself if attacked.
Make him understand that this is something that he cannot just close his eyes and wish away. Assure him that he is not alone and that together you can find a solution to this problem.