As a parent, it may not feel good to know that about 20% of children aged 12 to 18 are bullied at some point at school. It is an epidemic in the United States that can cause a lot of harm if not addressed properly.
The good news is that there are ways to prevent bullying as well as many ways to cope with it if it is happening.
Whether you are being bullied or you are the parent of a child who is being bullied at school, these are a few coping mechanisms and ways to solve the problem of bullying that you or your child may be going through.
1. Walk Away
If you want to teach your child about how to get out of bullying in schools if it happens to them, one of the most important things that you can teach them is to just walk away. There is no point in being combative or aggressive back, as this only will antagonize the bully.
While it is easy to do this if you're being bullied in person, the newer form of bullying called cyberbullying can be a bit more difficult to walk away from. However, you can teach a child to not respond to the messages or even block the person who is harassing them.
2. Use Communication
While walking away is always a good idea as an anti-bullying tactic, if your child feels confident enough to do so and has talked to you about it first, you can always tell them that they can use their words and communicate with their bully.
This may look like saying the following:
- "why are you picking on me?"
- "what you are saying to me is not OK"
- "you are hurting my feelings"
- "I did not appreciate what you said to me"
By using this type of communication, it is calling the bully out. Since someone is finally standing up for themselves, the bully may realize that their bullying is not working.
3. Seek Help
If your child is being bullied a lot, it is most likely going to be at school. On the other hand, it may be online if it is cyberbullying.
It is important to teach your child that when this happens, it is okay to seek help. They do not have to do this on their own.
However, to convince them that seeking help is the best way to go, you need to keep the communication lines open and supportive. This will encourage your child to open up about what is happening at school.
4. Find a Healthy Outlet
It is no surprise that being bullied can hurt a lot. It can also hurt the self-esteem of the person being bullied.
If you know your child is dealing with a bully at school, it is important to help them find a healthy outlet. This way, they will find something that makes them feel good about themselves and help them forget about everything else that is going on.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you want your child to find a healthy coping mechanism rather than keep their negative energy on that path.
5. Learn More About Bullying
This is one way that you can prevent bullying, but it may seem a little bit odd. However, if you learn more about bullying and teach your child about why people bully, they can make your child understand a little bit more about why someone may be being mean to them.
Typically, a bully is bullying because they are either abused at the moment or have been in the past. That means that if your child starts to show compassion, this may break the cycle. It may then also show the bully how to cope in a healthier way.
6. Recognize the Signs
If your child is not telling you that they are being bullied at school, it is important that you recognize the signs. However, before you can recognize the science, your child needs to recognize them.
Teaching your children the type of social interactions that they should have at school is where you should start.
However, this may be difficult to do at times, and these are signs you should look out for:
- Change in eating habits
- A change in their overall mood or more noticeable irritability
- Faking an illness to not go to school
- A drop in self-esteem
- Avoiding social situations and gatherings
7. Set Boundaries
Even when your child is at home, they may still be experiencing bullying. That is why it is important for a parent to set boundaries. Mostly, this has to do with technology boundaries. Cyberbullying is extremely prevalent in school-aged children.
You should give them a certain amount of screen time so they do not get consumed by it, have an age filter on their computer, and limit the types of social media that they have access to.
Ways to Prevent Bullying
Because bullying can be so detrimental to the health of children, and realistically anyone that goes through it, it is important to learn coping mechanisms and ways to prevent bullying.
If you are experiencing bullying, it is important to learn how to communicate and walk away from the situation. If you are a parent of a child who is experiencing bullying, it is important to teach them coping mechanisms.
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