The danger here is that when your child is being bullied you want to take over. Remember your job is to teach your child the skills to deal with bullying, and to support them. If your child tells you about bullying, firstly Listen – then do some problem solving.
To start with just let them just talk,without you interrupting. If it helps, write down what they say.
Stay calm yourself. Don’t criticise what they did. They need your understanding and your love. Give them a big hug and be empathetic –
‘You’ve been dealing with a lot. That must have been scary or upsetting. It was brave of you to tell me.’
Then at the end do some problem solving. Write the problem at the top of a page. Ask them for 10 or 15 possible solutions. Add some of your own at the end and then ask your child, which ideas they want to try first.
Secondly, get them to practice how they’ll respond to the bully. Help them understand that bullies are looking for a reaction. And children are more likely to be bullied if they show they’re upset or angry. Talk to your child about how they could respond casually, calmly, and without getting upset.
Find responses that say I really couldn’t care less. And practice them. Go through some of the incidents where your child has been bullied. And re-enact them where you play the bully – and get your child to practice different responses, until you find the ones that work best, and least likely to make the bully carry on picking on your child.
Finally, do what you need to,to support your child until the bullying stops. If your child is ok with it, talk to the school, Make an appointment to see the teacher – give them a photocopy of the notes you made about what’s been happening. And ask for the school’s help. But most importantly keep checking up with your child. Ask your child how things are going,every day at first,and then every week.
If there’s another incident ask lots of questions – what did they do? How did it work? Would they do anything differently next time? That way your child will continually learn and find the best ways of dealing with bullies.
So the three tips if your child is being bullied are:
- Listen first -then do some problem solving.
- Get them to practice casual responses to use if they’re picked on again.
- By all means tell the school but more importantly support your child until the bullying stops.
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