Bullying is a difficult topic to talk about with your child, but it's important that you do. While it can be hard to know how to start the conversation or what to say, here are some pointers:
- Be direct and honest: The more you downplay bullying and don't acknowledge it as a problem, the harder it will be for your child to open up. Be open from the start so they know this isn't something they have done wrong. Make it clear that they do not deserve to be bullied.
- Talk about self-confidence: Helping your child develop their self-confidence will help them stand up for themselves if someone tries to bully them. Encourage them to say, "No," and walk away from people who try to bully them.
- Teach assertiveness: Bullying also comes from a place of fear, whether it's fear of not fitting in or fear of being different. Remind your child that they can be confident without being aggressive. If your child is comfortable with it, you can role play in order to get your child comfortable with asserting themselves.
- Form a relationship with them: Cultivate an open relationship with your child so they feel comfortable talking to you about their feelings. Teens often feel like they need to be able to handle things themselves but we have to remind them that you are part of their support system.
Talk to Your Child’s School
If your child is being bullied, talk to someone at the school. They can't help unless they know what's happening. In addition to curtailing the bully, they can give your child the emotional support they need while working with you to solve this problem.
How to Prevent Bullying
Chances are you won't be able to prevent bullying from happening. But, there are ways to prevent it from escalating. Encourage your child to participate in physical exercise, sports, after-school clubs, and other extracurricular activities that put them in a safe environment. You can help your child build self-confidence so if they are bullied, their self-confidence won't be easily shaken.
Bullying is never okay. Help is available.
Bullying can be a devastating experience. It impacts not only the person being bullied, but also their friends and family members; and even acquaintances who witness it. The effects of bullying go on long after the bully has left the scene, too.
If you or your child needs additional help to deal with bullying, make an appointment to see a therapist at Dakota Family Services. Call 1-800-201-6495.