Ways to protect your child from bullying
Bullying can become a menace for your child at school and it can make their school life miserable if they are not taught to deal with it. Bullying occurs when a child is intimidated or forced to do something against his/her wishes.
Symptoms of bullying in a child
It is important to understand the symptoms of bullying in a child since every child does not talk about bullying easily. Symptoms can be stomach aches, being depressed, low self-esteem, loss of interest in school, talk about suicide and the like.
Parents need to be empowered in order to help their children to protect themselves. Here are some ways in which it can be done
Talk about bullying with your child
Let your child understand bullying behavior and then ask him/her not feel imbalanced because of it. Assure him/help from your side in every step and teach him ways to deal with the bullies themselves. Preschool kids specifically face more problems because of their inability to understand the situation. You need to communicate and ask them questions about their experiences at school to understand their issues in a better way. Getting involved with your child is very much essential to feel connected.
Teach your child assertive behavior and a positive body language
It is very essential to teach your child some self-assertion skills which would help the child stand up to the child bullying him/her. Positive body language should also be taught to the child as it would help him/her in dealing with the bully in a better way. Assertive behavior starts with using “I” statements which gives out the message that the child is not intimidated. Assertive dialogues include “ Stay away from me” “Don’t touch me” and the like.
Teach your child to confide in an adult he/she trusts
While a child is in school, it is not possible for a child to gain access to parents. Therefore they should report any act of bullying to a teacher or any adult they trust with their heart without fearing the consequences.
Psycho educate children about bullying behavior
Tell your child about the psychological need for control and manipulation on the bully’s part and the ways it can be prevented if they react in an assertive and fearless way. This would empower your child and they would gain the courage to stand against the bully when they come across bullying behavior.
Practice role plays with your child
It is essential to practice role plays with your child to teach him/her better assertive skills since that would give an idea about dealing with a bully. Therefore create situations where your child is being bullied and then teach the required reaction. Engage in dialogues and make sure your child understands the role play.
Build the confidence of your child
It is very much essential to building the confidence of your child since confident kids are always better in dealing with bullies. Appreciate your child for his success at various tasks since appreciation always helps in improving the self-esteem of your child.
Seek the help of teachers in your child’s school
Communicate your child’s problem to the teacher and ask him/her to keep a close connection with your child. Also, it is very much essential for the teacher to intervene in case the problem gets severe. Discuss the ways in which this situation can be handled and be assertive with the teacher. Also, keep in regular touch with the teacher in order to get to know about your child’s behavioral issues at school.
These essential steps would surely bully-proof your child and help him/ her enjoy school life without any hassle. You can get in touch with a mental health professional to help your child in dealing with severe bullying behavior. Mental health professionals are trained in dealing with mental health issues faced by children and adults. Early intervention can really make a big difference.
Content Contributed by Shyamolima Datta, Counselling Psychologist