You may prevent your child from becoming a bully by teaching him how to confront bullying behavior. How?
- Start teaching your child about caring, respectful interactions when they are young.
Making sure children grow up in loving, respectful relationships rather than those that use force or power to control them is the most effective strategy to prevent them from being bullied and from becoming bullies themselves. Every relationship has two sides, which children learn and can use to their advantage. Your child will learn that using physical force to resolve interpersonal issues is acceptable if you spank them.
- Maintain contact with your child despite obstacles.
Bullying is more likely to target lonely children. Additionally, children are typically reluctant to notify their parents that they are being bullied because they feel ashamed. They are more inclined to talk to you about things that bother them if they know you will always listen to them and have their support.
- Show others how to behave with assurance and respect.
Even in the privacy of your own car, if you lose your cool and swear at other drivers, you’re showing your kid that it’s occasionally acceptable to treat others disrespectfully. On the other hand, it’s time to adjust your behavior if you tend to back down quickly to avoid making a scene yet afterward feel pushed around. Your kid is observing you and picking things up. Practice asserting your own wants and rights while still showing respect for the other person. Set an example by treating everyone with respect, regardless of your differences.
- Explicitly instruct your child in respectable self-aggrandizement.
Children need to understand that they can satisfy their needs while showing respect for others. Give him early tools to defend himself:
“Now it’s my time,”
Hey, halt that.
Hands off my body, please.
“Injuring is not acceptable.”
“I object to being referred to as that. Please address me by my name if you can.”
- Give your kid a foundation in social skills.
Unfortunately, bullies target children they believe to be weak. Make it a priority to encourage your child in all the other ways mentioned in this article if you have a child who struggles with social skills so that he won’t be as appealing to bullies. Then, practice at home by creating games using social skills. Play pretend with your child about how to start a playdate, introduce himself to a youngster at a party, or join a game on the playground. For example, children that successfully join groups of children typically watch the group first and find a way to fit in rather than immediately barging in.
Kids sometimes need acceptance from their peers so much that they stick with them even when one of the group leaders starts to treat them badly. If you think your child might be at risk, pay attention to what he says regarding peer connections to teach him how to consult his own inner guidance and seek to give him opportunities for good relationships.
- Explain to your youngster how bullying dynamics operate.
Bullies often start verbally harassing others, according to research. Whether the bully continues to target this particular child depends on how the “victim” reacts to the initial verbal assault. The bullying will typically intensify if it provides the bully what he wants—a sense of power from effectively pressing the other child’s buttons. Every youngster needs to have this conversation BEFORE they could experience bullying so they can successfully defend themselves when the bully “tests” them.
- Have your youngster practice responding to teasing and provocations through roleplaying.
Play out scenarios in which your child can resist a bully. Explain to your child that the bully thrives on exhibiting emotion and fighting back because the bully wants to elicit a reaction that will make the bully feel powerful. While the bully is out of your child’s control, he or she can always choose how to react. As a result, his responses in every interaction have the potential to escalate or calm a conflict. No matter how angry the bully makes him, your youngster needs to stay away from getting “hooked.”
The wisest course of action is to always keep one’s dignity while allowing the “bully” to keep his. In other words, keep your dignity while leaving the situation without attacking or demeaning the other person. Simply say something composed like:
I’m simply going to overlook that comment, you know.”
“I believe I currently have something else to accomplish.”
Thank you, but no.
Then simply leave.
Teach your youngster to count to 10 in order to remain composed, address the bully directly, and utter one of these phrases. Practice until your youngster speaks with a firm, confident tone.
- When your child first starts using technology, instruct, watch over, and be present.
Bullying on social media is similar to bullying offline. Both involve misuse of power. However, there are some distinctions. Children who wouldn’t often act cruelly to others face-to-face may be able to overlook the consequences of their conduct online, making it tougher for them to resist bullying. When your child first starts using social media, go through it every day. Maintain an attitude of interest, encouragement, and laughter. Inquire of your child about their reactions to the various exchanges, what they found challenging, and how they made decisions. Through exchanges where they have the opportunity to securely reflect on the decisions they made and what transpired, children can acquire an appropriate judgment.
Teach children the following to stop cyberbullying:
- Never, under any circumstances, reveal your passwords.
- Regularly discuss privacy settings with your parents.
- Share nothing that can cause someone harm or embarrassment.
- Never send anything that might offend.
- You can stay safe online by being kind to other users.
- Always keep in mind that being cruel online or passing along cruel messages is no different from being cruel, spreading cruel rumors, or humiliating someone in person.
- If something online makes you uncomfortable, always talk to an adult about it.
The good news about cyberbullying is that it is documented. So, if your child is victimized by internet bullying:
- Take screenshots of everything, and record the dates.
- Block the individual.
- With supporting documents, notify the school.
- Show your child that there is no guilt in running away from a bully, informing an adult about it, or requesting assistance.
Bullying situations can become dangerous, and maintaining your dignity is less crucial than saving your life.
- Teach children how to step in to stop bullying when they notice it.
The most effective remedies:
Partner with the victim to get her out of harm’s path. Stand next to her, turn her away from the bully, and lead her away in the opposite direction—towards adult assistance. You should say something like, “You seem upset,” “I’ve been looking for you,” or “The teacher sent me to find you.”
Get help – Bullies enjoy being watched. By calling out, “We need your aid,” and waving the other kids over to you, you can win them around to your side. Face the bully and say, “You’re being cruel.” Move on: “Come on, let’s go!”
Of course, if you have any concerns about your safety, call out for a teacher or use a cell phone to telephone 911.
- Teach your kid the fundamentals of avoiding bullies.
Bullies congregate in places where adults aren’t, so if your child has been bullied, she should stay away from unattended hallways, restrooms, and playground areas. Bully avoidance tactics include standing at the front of the line, eating at a lunch table close to the cafeteria chaperones, and riding the front of the school bus.
- Don’t hold off on taking action.
Protecting your child is your responsibility as a parent. That means you might need to speak with the teacher or administrator in addition to educating your child to stand up for herself. Don’t let your youngster believe that she must tackle this situation on her own. Also, don’t assume that since there hasn’t been any physical violence that she isn’t suffering serious injuries. Despite the proverbial adage that “words do not hurt,” isolation and unkind words can have a lasting harmful impact on a child or teen’s mental health. Consider switching to a new school or even homeschooling your child if the school is unable to protect them.
Rose .A. Milani,
Parent Coach and Registered Mental Health Counsellor
Based in Melbourne, Australia