Bullying can refer to physical, verbal, emotional or social attacks against a victim, typically in a school setting. Bullying is not something that should be taken lightly. It has been connected to serious physical injuries, psychological harm, post-traumatic stress disorder, sexual assault and even suicide. Help put an end to bullying by teaching your child how to handle a bully.
Seek Assistance and Support
Bullying is often so effective because it makes a victim feel like he or she is alone, unsupported and powerless. This could lead to a victim being afraid to ask for help or support from others and suffering in silence. Teach your child to reclaim his or her power when faced with a bully by speaking up and reaching out to others. Remind your child that he or she has strong connections to good friends and protective adults who can help the child put an end to bullying.
Bullying is something that causes more harm the longer it is allowed to continue. Prolonged bullying, harassment or mistreatment can have significant effects on a victim physically, socially and psychologically. Teach your child not to wait to report a bully. The odds are low of bullies changing their behavior on their own; bullying typically does not stop until an adult intervenes. The sooner this happens, the better for a victim’s well-being. Taking a stand sooner rather than later can also help prevent others from being victimized by a bully.
Talk to Parents
Isolation is part of why bullying is so harmful. Let your child know from the beginning that you are always available to listen to what he or she has to say about bullies or negative experiences at school. If your child feels like you will downplay his or her problems or not do anything to find a solution, he or she may stay silent about incidents of bullying…until it is too late. Acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and make yourself a safe space for your child to come forward and ask for help.
Don’t Be Afraid to Tell on a Bully
Bullying may always be something that exists in schools and social activities, but it does not have to continue to hold power over victims. Part of the problem is the concept of “tattling” as a negative thing that is socially unacceptable. Teach your child to redefine tattling or ignore social constructs that make it a bad thing. Coming forward and telling an adult about a bully can create awareness and put a stop to the issue. It is not a sign of weakness but of strength and bravery.
Use Available Resources
Most schools have anti-bullying policies in place to help prevent and address this issue. Help your child utilize the resources available, such as an anonymous reporting system or a school counselor who can help. If your child is suffering from cyberbullying on school computers or iPads, the school may have systems in place to track down the bully or block harmful messages. As a parent, there also may be resources available to you to monitor online activity and report inappropriate content.
Be Confident and Assertive
Bullies choose their targets based on who they think will be the easiest to pick on without any ramifications. Teach your child to be calm, confident and assertive in bullying scenarios. Have them practice responding to a bully using simple and unemotional language to take away the bully’s control.
Your child should communicate clear boundaries, such as by saying “stop,” or “leave me alone.” It can help to use body language for more assertive communication, such as maintaining eye contact with the bully, using a calm and even tone, and using the bully’s name when speaking.
If your child suffers physical or emotional injuries due to bullying in Kansas City, contact our school abuse lawyers at DRZ Law to explore potential legal options. Your family may be entitled to financial compensation.