With school starting, bullying is something no one wants to talk about, but it’s unfortunately common. It’s important to talk to your kids about bullying, and what to do if they see it.
How To Talk About Bullying
Bullying is no joke and no child should have to deal with being bullied. Nevertheless, it does happen more frequently than many people would like to admit. The best way to prevent your child from becoming a victim is to teach her all you can about bullying. She needs to know what it is and what to do if she is a victim or if she sees someone else being bullied.
Explain what actions are considered bullying and that this type of behavior is unacceptable.
Kids need to know what it is before they can know how to respond to it. Bullying can be verbal or physical – both can have deadly consequences. With the rise of technology and social media, bullying has also creeped its way on social media and anonymous chat sites or apps.
Give your child instructions on how to deal with it if she should fall victim to a bully.
Explain that safety is the most important thing and that she/he should take steps to remove themselves from the situation as soon as possible and report the incident to a trusted adult.
Let your child know that you will support her for standing up to a bully that is picking on her or someone else. Let her know that you will be there for her to help deal with whatever happens.
Talk to your child about ways to discourage bullying.
I’ve personally found humor can deflect “mean girl” talk, if causing a scene by confrontation isn’t appropriate for the time. Switching the topic can also help, or if your child hears negative comments about another person, speaking positive comments can cause the bully to stop.
Talk to your child about the different ways to avoid becoming a victim.
For example, stay with your friends or near the adults instead of going off by yourself. Most bullies seek out kids that are alone because they make easier targets.
Is your child the bully?
Talk to your child about bullying others and make sure she understands that it’s not right and will not be tolerated. Growing a healthy sense of self-confidence and understanding that everyone is equal can help bullies. More often than not, kids treating others cruelly is a sign something else is going on in their lives!
Above all, make sure your child knows you are available to talk anytime she needs or wants to discuss her day. Initiate conversations by asking her how her day went, did she have a good time or was there any problems she would like to discuss. Showing an interest in her life will make it easier to talk about bullying along with some of the other problems kids face each day.