Bullying involves repeated unwanted behaviour in which children use physical strength or embarrassing information to harm other children. Unfortunately, this behaviour is very common in schools and it can lead to insecurity, anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts in young children.
But how do you teach your child about bullying and its effects? To find solutions, you first have to understand why children bully others.
Understanding bullying behaviour
There are many reasons why children bully. Some of these include:
- Feeling insecure
- Dealing with anger and frustrations
- Wanting to be in control
- Wanting to be popular
- Having prejudices
- Feeling peer pressure
Unfortunately, some children never fully develop the skills to deal with the above-mentioned issues effectively. Other children learn certain types of behaviour at home. If they see aggressive or unkind behaviour, they may copy it when interacting with other children.
Ways to teach your child about bullying
Skills development starts at a very early age. Therefore, it is important to support your child to develop the awareness and skills to deal with tough situations appropriately and to promote kindness towards others at home.
If you find that your child is showing signs of aggressive, angry or frustrated behaviour, you have to:
- Identify the root cause
- Discuss your child’s emotions
- Find effective solutions for your child to cope with his or her emotions in a positive way
If your child has been involved in bullying of any kind, there are ways to deal with the situation in a proactive manner. This includes:
Sitting down with your child
Spend time with your child and discuss what has happened. Ask your child to be as open and honest as possible. Your child should feel that he or she can trust you.
Punishment is part of the learning process. However, the punishment should fit the crime. For example, a privilege can be taken away for a certain period. Your child should also understand the reason for the punishment. It is, therefore, important to discuss the situation thoroughly.
Once your child has realised that the bullying behaviour was wrong, it may be necessary for your child to apologise to the bullied person or persons. This can be a difficult activity that may require plenty of support from you as the parent.
Prevent future bullying
Consistently monitor your child and talk to him or her often about bullying to avoid such behaviour in the future.
What to do if your child has been bullied
Name-calling and teasing is not a normal part of growing up. If you realise that your child has been the victim of bullying, you must immediately talk to your child about the incident. Create a safe environment and reassure your child that he or she can be trusted.
Once you know what has happened, you should let your child know that it is not his or her fault and that bullying is never okay. It may be necessary to talk to your child’s teacher, as well as to the parents of the child who was responsible for the bullying. Always make an appointment with the involved parties and ensure you have all the facts before you visit. Approach the situation with kindness and work together to find a suitable solution for the bullying behaviour.
If your child has been bullied, you have to monitor his or her behaviour. If you notice anything that is out of place or emotions that don’t resolve over time, it may be necessary to get professional help for your child.
Remember, bullying is unfortunately very common in schools, on the playground and even at friends’ homes. It is never okay for your child to bully another, or for your child to be bullied. It is also important to never dismiss an incident and to always keep an open communication flow with your child.