If your child comes to you and open up his problem, you need to pay close attention to the problem. Remember “do not ignore it”. Too often parents feel that children need to “work things out” on their own or solve the problem on their own, which is not suppose to be that way. While your child does need to develop his social skills by doing things independently, but being victimized by a bully is not a social need one needs to learn. As parents it is our obligation to know what is going about especially when the problems reach to the highest level and it greatly affects the child. Since, if the problem is ignored, your child’s self-esteem will become unhealthy, thus he will be hurt mentally, emotionally and worst thing to happen is he could become a bully himself.
Here are five steps you can take if your child is having problems with a bully:
- Believe what your child tells you. This is an important first step and will help your child trust that you are able to help him with his problem. Accept what he has to say by using your active listening skills.
- Let your child know that he is not alone. Most children have to deal with some type of bullying behavior at one time or another. Reassure your child that he is not the problem. Nothing he did caused the bully to go after him.
- If your child is being threatened in a physical or illegal way at school, report the problem. Your child may not want you to do this, or the school may not take it seriously, but violence cannot be tolerated. If you choose not to do anything, that is what you’re teaching your child. You will need to model assertive behavior by alerting those in charge where the bullying is taking place.
- Teach your child assertive behavior and how to ignore routine teasing. Let them know it is okay to say ‘No.’ Sometimes even friends bully, so letting your child know they can be true to their own feelings and say ‘no’ can go a long way.
- Encourage your child not to give in to a bully. Giving up possessions or giving into a bully in anyway encourages the bully to continue. Identify ways for your child to respond to a bully - showing assertive but not aggressive behavior - and role-play them.
- If your child is not involved in social groups, help him find some that he will enjoy and encourage him to become involved. The more social skills your child has, the easier it will be for him to stand up for himself.
- Children and teens who hang out in groups of 2 or more tend not to be picked on by bullies. Encourage friendships by allowing your teen to invite friends over or out for activities.