When we think back to our school days, we’re mostly greeted with happy memories. The pranks, the laughter, and of course that one teacher who had a personal vendetta against us for some reason (which just made us want to annoy her more). But things weren’t always rainbows and butterflies for a lot of us. And the biggest reason for that was the B-word – bullying. It made us not want to go to school, not engage with our peers, and even affected our eating and sleeping habits. In short, it sucked. And it sucks even more when our kids might have to go through it. But that’s where we come in.
As parents, we know the first instinct is to go absolutely ballistic and declare war on anybody that hurt our baby but that may not be the best way to handle that situation. Instead, it’s important we empower our kids with the tools to tackle this problem and always be by their side through it. Because let’s face it, no matter how hard you try, you can’t be by their side all the time. That’s why here are a few tips from us to tackle that monster (without any bloodshed)
1.Keep an open line of communication:
For you to help, you first have to know what’s wrong. So check in with them from time to time in a calm, friendly tone and create a climate that ensures your child isn’t afraid to tell you what’s wrong. Kids aren’t always the best at speaking about their problems so keep reminding them that they can always talk to you about anything, even if it’s in the middle of the night.
2. Act it out:
In case there is a bully at school, role-play is a great way to build your child’s confidence and will prepare them to defuse the situation themselves. Play the part of the bully and act out scenarios that your child has described to you to help them practice different responses. Show them how to not react to a bully and teach them positive body language like looking their bully in the eye and keeping a calm, firm voice. You can use their favourite TV shows and books to help them understand these situations better.
3. Build their confidence:
The better your child feels about themselves, the less their self-esteem will be affected by a bully. Always reinforce the positive behaviours that you like in them and let them know that you’re always on their side.
Now, these tips are well and good to practice with your child but there is always a line. When that line is crossed, it’s time to get involved. Speak to the administrators at their school and ensure that they are taking action to prevent this behaviour. If needed, involve the bully’s parents as well and begin a conversation, keeping sure to not lose your cool. After all, you have to set an example for them. This is harder to say than do, we know. But that’s what it means to be a parent. And we both know that you’re a great one, so trust yourself.