Does your child feel reluctant to go the school? Do you see torn clothes or torn books when your child returns home from school? Chances are that your child is being bullied by his friends, neighbors or classmates.
Bullying is menace in the US. It takes place everywhere. Many a time children hesitate telling their parents about bullying, either from fear or embarrassment. But as a parent, you need to alert about whether your kid is being bullied and harassed.
Being observant is very important. A bullied kid often displays different child behavior and gives warning signals. Some useful parenting advice and tips can help you take necessary steps to protect your child from being bullied:
Identify the warning signs
Certain signs or child behavior changes can help you find out whether your child is bullied:
• When your child makes excuses to avoid going to school, make a note whether this is happening too frequently. Generally bullied kids lose interest in school and their grades fall dramatically.
• If your child comes back home with bruises and scratches or his clothes torn or books damaged; it is an indication that the child is being bullied.
• If a child takes a different route to go school to avoid some people on the way.
• If your child appears sad or isolated and is rarely invited to other kids birthday parties.
This child behavior needs utmost attention of parents and they need to rectify this problem as early as early possible.
At times, kids are not bullied physically but ignored and left alone by their classmates. This deliberate isolation too can lead to loneliness and lower the confidence of your child.
If bullying goes on for long, it may leave deep emotional scars on your child and affect his self-esteem badly. A bullied kid needs a support system and if he doesn’t get that from parents, he/she can even harm themselves.
Talk to your child
Once you have recognized the signs, you need to talk to your child. Be sympathetic and listen to your child patiently.
Parenting help: Don’t overreact or criticize your child by saying, “You must have done something that others behaved with you like that.” It will only make the child go deeper into isolation. It takes courage for your child to open up. So be a good listener and encourage your child to talk to you. It will also help strengthening your child parent relationship.
Contact the concerned authorities
If your child is being bullied at school, you need to contact the school authorities at the earliest. Your child may not like your involvement in school from fear of retaliation by bullies.
You need to assure your child that everything will be fine. You can explain the problem to your child’s teacher and jointly come up with a solution to sort out the problem. If bullying persists, you can approach the principal for appropriate action.
Parenting advice: If possible, try to keep a log of the dates when bullying occurred and share with the school authorities. Avoid talking to those who are bullying your child or their families directly. Rather get the school administrators and the teachers speak to the offender and his parents. Teachers must firmly inform the offender and his parents about the dire consequences if the bullying doesn’t stop.
If you know some older child studying in the same school, you can ask him/her to keep a watch on your child during lunch break or in playground and keep you informed about the happenings. You can also encourage your child to approach the older child if he needs help.
Encourage child to make other friends
Does your child refuse to go out and play with other kids in the neighborhood? Probably your child is being bullied by neighbor’s kids. Encourage your child to get friendly and develop a bond with other kids in the neighborhood. At times, a bully stops other kids from talking to your child, and usually other kids obey the bully because they are afraid of getting bullied themselves. In that case, you can ask your child to invite some of those friends to home over the weekend. This can help your child to create a bond with other buddies.
Support your child
Children who face bullying too often tend to feel that something is wrong with them. One of the best parenting advice to help you handle this well is to let your child know that he is perfect. Explain to him that people bully so that they can get some reaction. When you stop reacting, they won’t bother you anymore.
Wisdom for kids: Appreciate your child often and let him know that she is unique and that is what makes her special. She doesn’t have to be winner always to deserve respect. Let your child know that being bullied is not her fault. She is unique and worthy of respect and love.