Kate Campbell, PhD, LMFT
6 Strategies to Help Your Child with Bullying Today
You've heard about bullying, but never thought it would happen to your family. Imagine how you would respond if your child disclosed that they were being bullied. What would you do if they told you that one of their peers repeatedly said nasty things to them, humiliated them in front of their classmates, or even physically hurt them? What would you say to your child? What would you do about the situation? Who would you report this to?
People tend to throw around the word bullying and bullying prevention often, but what exactly is bullying? Bullying is defined as the abuse and mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger or more powerful.
Did you know that October is National Bullying Prevention Month? The National Center for Education Statistics shows that from 2015, 21% of students between the ages of 12-18 reported being bullied at school.
Here’s the breakdown: 13% of the 21% reported they were made fun of; 12% reported they were the subject of rumors; 5% reported they were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; and 4% reported they were physically threatened or harmed.
If your child is being bullied, here are 6 Strategies to Help Your Child with Bullying Today.
Talk about it. Ask open-ended questions to find out what happened. Discuss how they felt at the time and how they feel about it now. Let them know you hear them, understand and are here to help.
Empathize with your child. Tell them bullying is wrong and it’s not their fault. Amplify how brave they are for coming forth.
Consult them regarding solutions. Ask them what they think can be done to help the situation.
Start documenting. Keep a log of all incidents of bullying with your child. It may take time to resolve the issue.
Skill Building. Help your child develop skills for handling bullies. Provide suggestions to help your child deal with bullying. Therapy is a wonderful resource for helping children and their parents learn strategies for building confidence, assertiveness, and self-protection.
Share your concerns with school authorities. Meet with your child’s teacher/s first to discuss the situation and how to ensure your child’s safety. Depending on the severity of the situation, you may need to meet with the Principal and/or Assistant Principal to discuss and advocate for bullying prevention strategies school-wide.
Most schools have a zero-tolerance for bullying, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. Know your school’s policy in dealing with bullying and keep a direct line of communication with your school authorities. Hold your school accountable for solutions to the bullying, and monitor them for those solutions.
If your child is or has dealt with the bullying of any kids and you need additional support, contact us to discuss your options for therapeutic support. Give us a call at 954-391-5305 to set up an appointment with one of our expert therapists at BayviewTherapy.com. We provide counseling for children being bullied, parents of children being bullied, and anxious children in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.