The kids are heading back to school this week and lots of parents have the fear of bullies tugging at the back of their excitement. Returning to school after two months of summer vacation is exciting for most kids but there are always those who are anxious because of bullying. Although schools heavily promote anti-bullying in classrooms and the playground, teasing, social exclusion, and physical forms of assault continue to be an issue.
The sad truth is that mean kids are everywhere and you can only do so much to protect your child. Aggressive behaviour is being seen not only among tweens but as young as preschoolers as well.
Some signs your child is being bullied:
- Faking illnesses (not wanting to go to school)
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches (signs of stress and anxiety)
- Lost personal belongings
- Unexplainable injuries
- Torn clothing
- Frequent nightmares/ not wanting to go to sleep
- Crying spells
- Withdrawal from family members
Keep an open line of communication between yourself and your child. You want them to have the courage to approach you if they are under attack at school.
Remember, you are their safe place.
Being kind to others starts in the home. As a parent it is your job to promote kindness at all times. Being strong and confident is great but it’s when that confidence is used to put down others that problems arise. Studies have shown that a confident child who bullies may be doing so only to hide their own insecurities so be mindful of where this self-assurance comes from.
How to Prevent your Child from Bullying
- Choose kindness whenever possible
- Avoid speaking ill of your friends in front of them
- Teach and demonstrate respect
- Encourage your child to include those who are frequently left out
If you suspect that your child is being bullied, here are a few ideas to help the situation:
- Talk patiently with your child. Be a good listener and have them express all their feelings about what is going on.
- Get as much information from your child as possible, including bully’s name, date of incident, where it happened, and if it has happened in the past. Make sure your child knows they are not tattling, but rather helping themselves, and others from any further harassment.
- Never tell your child to shrug off the bullying, but don’t encourage fighting either. The point is to promote peace and kindness so retaliating would only be counterproductive.
- Make the child’s teacher and principle aware of what is going on but don’t expect them to resolve the issue. They have way too much going on and although efforts are constantly being made, bullying continues to be rampant in schools.
- Empower your child. This point is the most important and should be taken extremely seriously. Raising a child who is aware that bullying is wrong, and with enough confidence to stand up for themselves, is the best way to ensure that severe damage doesn’t come from the issues they are facing.
Check back next week to learn some great ways to empower your children.