News Karnataka
Monday, January 30 2023
Know Your Child

How do parents handle bullying in children?

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Bullying is a common problem among children. This causes a lot of problems to parents and teachers as kids who are victim to bullying tend to show various behavioural and academic issues. Parents can either expect their children to be perpetrators or victims. As a counselor I have witnessed many children who have faced emotional trauma which acts as impediment to the enthusiasm, and creativity in them. Few children are reluctant to go to school and become defensive when spoken about bullying.

Bullying can be physical or verbal. Physical bullying includes hitting, fighting, stealing or intentionally destroying someone’s property, while verbal bullying includes calling names, spreading rumours, threatening or blackmailing, laughing at someone/insulting.

Usually bullying takes place at school, playground, school van, any other public place or even at homes. Cyber bullying takes place on the internet when using mobile phones or social media. It includes online harassment (sexual too), sending violent or vulgar message, and trolling.

The problem with bullying is children as well as parents ignore the red flags when evident. It can ruin the self-esteem of the child which would foster problematic adulthood. So each and everyone must keep a track of safety measures.

Let us now understand how parents can tackle these issues by coordinating with the school management, and others:

1) Keep an open line communication

Communication is the key to solve any problem. Children when they enter puberty (teenagers) rarely discuss the school stuff at home as their focus shifts from parents to friends. Further, few children do not like to share bitter experiences with their parents. However parents need to develop good communication with them without being judgemental or rude. The kind or comfortable gesture will allow your child to slowly express what they face at school. Try not to insist to open up instead take a help from school counselor or teacher.

2)   Help your child build self-esteem

Teaching children to accept who they are is the most essential thing to boost their confidence. Finding out their strengths and focusing on improving their self-confidence and appreciating those efforts will always make significant difference in children. A child who is bullied for failing at subjects , eventually may get a medal in sports as he or she was more focused on his or her positive qualities.

3) Give them real life examples

One of the most important concern for every parent is to prepare their children to face the world out there. They aspire them to become strong, and independent adult. So letting them know or giving them real life situations become necessary. Make them practice phrases such as ‘that was not nice’, ‘I think you need to watch your words’, ‘leave me alone’ or ‘Yeah whatever’. When they walk away from the situation they need to be brave enough to at least make an eye contact and utter these phrases which in itself a brave thing a victim could do. The response towards bullying differs from child to child. Few kids cry, become aggressive, take it as something funny but some of them label themselves as how they have been treated. Hence parents need to be extra careful during these situations because if tit for tat happens then it is really problematic for later relationships/friendships.

4) Explain the dos and don’ts clearly to the child

Make the child clear that when somebody bullies they lack empathy, sensitivity and self-control. Hence bullies get power only when the victims become weak. Therefore parents need to teach their children right ways to respond to bullying. Teach them appropriate positive body language during those situations. When a child gets hit from the bully and victim hitting back may not be a right option but definitely reporting it to the people concerned would be the right decision.

5) Consult a school counselor or teacher

When a child explains about bullying chances are more that you might be subjective or biased. Try to understand the situation from both victim and perpetrator’s side. Get a help from school counselor. This will help you get a broader idea about the situation and also school policies about bullying. Do insist for anti-bullying campaigns at school

On a concluding note, any behaviour of other person that makes you feel unhappy, uncomfortable or unsafe is considered as bad or unwanted one. So bullying if not tackled properly would surely leave a serious impact on child’s life. Along with academic growth parents also need to concentrate on children’s behavioural aspects.

Image by Tumisu

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Ramya E.

The author is a counselor and lifeskills trainer who has trained over 2000 students. She holds an M.Sc. in Psychology.

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