Many times kids will not express themselves. Even if you probe them with hundreds of questions they hide their feelings and will not show that they are hurt. Please do not give up on kids! It is our duty as parents and teachers to understand what is happening in kid’s life – Why they are acting strangely? What is going on in their school and social life? Is something troubling the kid? The answer for these questions is ‘bullying’.
Bullying is one of the worst habit or practice many schools and colleges have. Kids who are seniors or who have better physique will take on juniors or poor physique kids. Picking on weak student is common. Similarly, bullying for the appearance, especially amongst girls is also common. A sibling or a friend at some point has teased most kids. Moreover, it is not usually harmful when done in a playful, friendly, and mutual way, and both kids find it funny. However, when teasing becomes hurtful, unkind, and constant, it crosses the line into bullying and needs to stop.
Bullying is being mean to another kid repeatedly. Bullying often includes:
- Talking about hurting someone
- Spreading rumors
- Leaving kids out on purpose
- Attacking someone by hitting them or yelling at them
Identifying the effects of bullying: As a parent, you may suspect your child is being bullied. If you are not quite sure, review these common signs to help you recognize if bullying is occurring. Your child may:
- come home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings
- have unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches from fighting
- have few, if any, friends with whom he or she spends time
- seem afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part in organized activities with
- peers (such as clubs or sports)
- take a long, “illogical” route when walking to or from school
- lose interest in school work or suddenly begin to do poorly in school
- appear sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home
- complain frequently of headaches, stomach aches, or other physical problems
- have trouble sleeping or frequent bad dreams
- experience a loss of appetite
- appear anxious and suffer from low self-esteem
Recognize the warning signs that your child is involved in bullying. They could be being bullied, bullying others, or witnessing bullying. Although these signs could signal other issues, you should talk to your child if they display any sort of behavioral or emotional changes. Many times kids won’t ask for help, so it is important to know what to look for. If your child is at immediate risk of harming himself or others, get help right away.
Learn what bullying is and what it is not. Understanding what bullying is is the first step in forming a plan to prevent or respond to bullying with your child. Many behaviors that look like bullying may be just as serious, but may require different response strategies. You can also learn about:
- The frequency of bullying;
- Who is at risk for being bullied and bullying others; and
- The effects of bullying
Cyber bullying often requires different strategies than in-person bullying. Learn how to work with your kids to prevent cyber bullying and how to respond when it occurs.
Utilize tips and tools to talk to your child about bullying. Opening lines of communication before your child is involved in bullying makes it easier for them to tell you when something happen. It is also important to work with a school to help prevent bullying before it starts.
- If you know or suspect bullying has occurred, learn how to find out what has happened with your child. Understanding what has happened can also help in communicating with school or community officials about the situation.
- If you have determined bullying has occurred, learn how you and school or community officials can work together to support your child, whether they were bullied, bullied others, or witnessed bullying. Learn also about considerations for specific groups.
- If bullying is occurring at school, learn about what your state requires schools to do in your state’s anti-bullying law. Learn also about federal laws that require schools to address harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, and disabilities and ways to report situations that have not been adequately addressed to the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice.
- If you have worked with your child and your school and need additional assistance, find resources to help address the situation.
The steps parents should take are:
Talk about it: Don’t give up on your kids. Talk to them about bullying with your kids and share your experiences. If kids opens up encourage them and offer unconditional support to stop bullying. Consult with the school to learn its policies and find out how staff and teachers can address the situation.
Remove the bait: Many times bullying involves lunch money and stuffs like gadgets – video games, watches, smart phones etc. If this is the problem then pack lunch for kids and tell them not to carry gadgets . Give them a simple phone.
Friends for safety: Encourage your kids to be have friends. If kid is with group of friends then it is more likely to be picked up by a bully. Tell your children to go with friends to lunch room, bathroom, school bus, fields etc. These are the places where bullies may lurk your kid.
Teach kid to be calm: The best defense more is probably ignorance and staying calm. Tell your kids to remain calm and ignore all remarks from a bully. Bullies enjoy hurting others. A child who is not easily ruffled has a better chance of staying off a bully’s radar.
Talk to bully’s parents if needed: Don’t face the battle alone. Take other parents and talk to bully’s parents in a constructive manner. Best is to inform school officials and see what actions they can take to solve the issue.
Bullying is a serious wide-spread problem throughout the world. Do not down play or underestimate the amount and seriousness of bullying that occurs in our children’s schools. Talk to your child about bullying and its adverse effect. Help your kid before it becomes too late. Teach them how to handle bullying and support anti-bullying.