How to Handle a Bullying Situation with Your Child

If you are the parent of a child who is bullied at school, you aren’t alone. Bullying is prevalent across the world. Thankfully, people are becoming proactive about this once hidden issue and shedding light on its potentially disastrous effects. If your child tells you that he or she is being bullied, don’t sweep the issue under the rug. Speak at length about the problem and don’t stop talking until you’ve settled on a solution.

Parents of children between four and seven years of age will likely feel crushed when their child says that he is being bullied at school. Ask him why he thinks he is being picked on to probe whether he instigated the poor treatment. If it sounds like he didn’t provoke the bully, ask him if he has spoken with his teacher about putting a stop to the bullying. Don’t encourage him to retaliate against the bully. Doing so might put him in a dangerous position and just make the bullying worse. Unfortunately, some parents report their children have been disciplined by the school for retaliation. Encourage him to speak up and report the bullying to his teacher as soon as it happens. If the teacher imposes repercussions for the bully, he’ll likely stop his menacing ways. If the bullying continues, schedule a teacher-parent conference and include the school principal in the discussion.

If your child is between the ages of eight and twelve, there is the potential for even more significant physical harm. Children in this age range need to learn to defend themselves in case they are bullied in a social environment outside of the classroom. When your youngster tells you that he has been bullied, thank him for being honest and speaking up. Tell him that plenty of kids refuse to bring the subject up out of embarrassment and a feeling of powerlessness. Now that he has brought the issue to your attention, it is crucial that you respond in the proper manner. Tell him to report every instance of bullying to school authorities immediately after it happens. Also, tell him to defend himself if he feels that he is in harm’s way. If he doesn’t learn to defend himself and there is no school authority around to help him, he might suffer serious physical harm. Sometimes, all it takes is the display of self-defense to send a bully on his way.

Parents of a teen between the ages of thirteen and seventeen should understand the magnitude of teenage bullying. It can be especially harsh and the worst instances have led to suicide. It is imperative that you keep the lines of communication open at all times. Even if your teen doesn’t tell you that he has been bullied, you should bring the topic up with him so that he feels comfortable speaking about it with you. Many kids feel embarrassed when they are bullied and don’t want to show weakness by speaking about it. Make it clear that bullying is an issue that you are concerned with and that it should never be concealed. If your teen does speak up and report that he is the victim of bullying, tell him that it is nothing to be ashamed of and that you appreciate his candor. Explain to him that he should not have to endure such abusive treatment. Communicate to him that self-defense might be necessary to prevent severe physical harm in the future. Many bullies will be scared away when victims indicate that they are capable of defending themselves. If he feels uncomfortable speaking about bullying to a school administrator, tell him that you’ll report the behavior on his behalf or alongside of him.

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