Bullying is something that affects a person’s confidence in a really profound way.
It is utterly heartbreaking to learn that a child is being bullied.
As a parent, it is unbearable to imagine your own child being bullied.
Bullying is something that affects a person’s confidence in a really profound way. It overshadows everyday life because it is an obstacle during even the most mundane tasks such as taking the bus or sitting in a class at school. It can have devastating consequences
and really should be treated in a very serious way by anyone that is aware of what is going on.
There is a thin line between “that’s kids for you” and a child being bullied
. I am sure many of us have turned a blind eye to behaviour that we genuinely thought was natural and “good for” our children when hindsight may have taught us the very opposite. Kids will be kids but name calling or violence of a physical or emotional nature should not be tolerated at any age. These acts can damage a child in so many different ways.
If your child was being bullied at school or in the area you would want to know about it. For this reason, it is really important to do something with the information if you discover something similar is happening to a child that is not your own.
You may have heard through the grapevine or through one of your own children, for example. That child’s parents may be completely unaware of the situation and the same could be said for their teachers and some of their close peers. The problem with bullying is that it can instil a huge sense of fear. The person being bullied can believe that if they tolerate and accept it then it will run its course and disappear with time – but it shouldn’t be that way. Bullying is simply not OK.
Helping a child that is experiencing bullying is a very sensitive topic. You want to help them to feel safe and understood while at the same time avoiding adding fuel to the fire and drawing attention to them. That is the very last thing a bullied child will want. At the same time, it is important to do something.
Here are some ways that you could help a child that is experiencing bullying
1. Speak to the child. Simply acknowledging that you know what is going on may offer them immediate relief. They may reject the talking and they may even deny it but deep down they will feel less alone and somewhat protected. It is important they understand that what is happening is really not OK.
2. Speaking to the child’s teacher or parent in confidence is a good idea. They may be able to “discover” the bullying all by themselves without involving you in any way. In fact, they will more than likely be extremely grateful that you have highlighted it.
3. Build up the child’s confidence. A child that is being bullied, or has been bullied, will more than likely feel very insecure. Praising them for their strengths and abilities has never been more important.
4. Consult the school to inquire about any anti-bullying policies and procedures that are in place. They will work with you to deal with the bullying in an effective and sensitive way.
5. Listen. Your child may open up about the manner of bullying and the severity if they feel that they are being listened to. If the response is anger and extreme upset they will feel responsible for bringing that to your life.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.