Written by: Yolandi Singleton
For any child who gets bullied, it is an extremely stressful time for them especially if they do not have the appropriate skills to act on it or the ability to get out of it. Many parents’ advice their children to hit back, rationalizing that they should defend themselves. Yes, some children who bullies might end up stopping to bully them, but others who bullies will be encouraged to fight back even harder which could really cause huge damage. Is it worth the risk?
Some parents have found it useful to consult with the school when the bullying took place there as some schools really have a zero tolerance for bullying behavior and usually act quite promptly to that. Other schools still struggle to manage the discipline of trying to keep such behavior out of their school premises. The fact of the matter is that children not only get bullied inside the school premises, but also outside which the school can simply not take responsibility for.
When you are confronted with one of your children getting bullied, the next steps are advised:
- When children get bullied it is vital that that they do not feel lonely as that is a feeling they usually experience.
- During that time, spend extra time with them and turn on the TLC. It could help them to have the guarantee that when they arrive home there will at least be sufficient support for them by their loved ones.
- It is okay if they cry about it and make sure to acknowledge their feelings. They probably experience feelings of powerlessness. Your prompt plan of action on how you will resolve the matter needs to be communicated to them so that they can at least feel more at ease that someone would try to make things better.
- Allow them to tell you what happened as many times as they need – children can find enormous relief when they see they are being listened to.
- Advise them to from now on never be alone again and to always have others around them as children who bullies often targets children who are isolated from the rest. If you must arrange alternative transport or whatever is needed to prevent re-occurrence.
- Take care of any possible medical needs.
- Report any bad injuries to SAPS so that the legal processes can take its course on the child who practices the bullying – a medical report could assist as an addendum to your statement.
- Work out a plan of action together with your child on how to prevent the child who bullies to reach your child again.
- Never underestimate the impact that bullying can have on your child – if your child’s behavior suddenly changes and gets worse, consider getting professional assistance
- Your encouragement as a parent/caregiver is vital during this process as and your care could mean the world to them – do not forget to keep on boosting your child’s self-esteem, because a child with a good self-esteem is much less likely to get bullied.