As children settle back into school after the Christmas break we must think about the children who are suffering from bullying at school. It is agonising for a parent or guardian to suspect or learn that their child is being bullied.
The priority if this happens is to understand and support your child, while taking action to stop the bullying and doing everything possible to prevent it happening again in the future. As part of our weekly series of parenting tips, here are 10 ways to support a child who is being bullied.
- As a parent, you need to recognise that your child is being bullied. Pay attention to changes in your child’s behaviour, personality and routine.
- If you are concerned that your child is being bullied, and they are old enough to understand the language, ask them straight out. Otherwise ask them in an age appropriate way.
- Fostering really good clear ongoing communication between parents and children is the key to knowing your child and supporting them with difficulties. If as a parent you cannot do this, try to ensure that there are other adults in your child’s life that they will talk with.
- Encourage children to talk about their feelings, around the bullying and the bully.
- It may be difficult, but ask yourself if there is any possible reason that your child may have been vulnerable to being bullied. Explore what you can do to support your child in these areas – children want to fit in and be part of the group. How can you help them with this?
- Children with low self esteem and a poor sense of self worth may be more vulnerable to being bullied. Parents need to support children to increase their self esteem. It is important for parents themselves to consider their own level of self esteem as this impacts on children.
- Reporting the issue to the school and having regular communication to monitor the situation with the school principal is crucial.
- Children need to find their voice in the home and to practice being assertive in order to have the confidence to do this in school and in the play ground. Role play with your child, expect and encourage them to have a voice in the home.
- Do not blame, judge or criticise a child for being bullied. Offer reassurance and support. Empower your child to come up with ways to deal with the bullying. Try not to take over. Empowerment will increase self esteem and help your child see that they have the power to make change happen.
- Help your child to have positive friendships in school; many children need their parents to help them to make their friendships blossom. Practical ways to help are to organise play dates and be friendly with other parents to help your child find where they fit.
This week’s ’10 Ways to’ is adapted by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly, from our Family Communications training programme.
You can find out about this programme and the other parenting programmes we run here.
For support and advice on any of these topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.