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Bullying amongst children of all ages is increasingly becoming an everyday occurrence. Bullying is an intentional form of hurting. It could be verbal or non-verbal; it could become physically dangerous or emotionally harmful. Mild form of bullying like name calling or teasing amongst kids, which is common in schools, can be understandable and acceptable. However, when your kid is being bullied on a continual basis for prolonged periods of time, it could cause him/ her grave psychological damage.
It is critical for parents to take bullying seriously and put an end to bullying before it worsens. Keep in mind that your kid definitely needs your help and support. It is your responsibility to come to his/her aid when your child is being bullied. You would need to take firm steps to deal with this menace promptly.
Here is what to do if your kid is being bullied:
~ Assure your support
Assuring your kid of your support is the primary first step. Let your kid know that you believe in him/her and are readily available if and when needed to discuss the issue and take necessary action when required. Reiterate your trust in your kid; reassure him/her that you intend to resolve the problem as soon as possible. This brand of assurance makes the kid feel secure and cared for.
~ Offer advice
If the bullying is simply in the form of teasing, it would be wise for parents not to make a big issue out of it. Instead, advise your kid to take it lightly, avoid giving it much thought and simply walk away. Impress upon your kid that once the bully encounters indifference from you, it is most likely that he/she will back off. Advise your kid to remain calm and casual; this would perhaps be the simplest way of dealing with the bully instead of resorting to sharp negative reactions.
~ Teach assertiveness
Studies indicate that generally bullies tend to victimize those who are timid, afraid or who tend to get easily intimidated. It would therefore important to teach your kid to be more assertive and to learn positive ways to deal with the problem. The finest life lesson you could teach your kid would be to surprise the bully with a random act of kindness which could have a positive impact on the bully.
~ Provide wider opportunities
Parents can provide opportunities to their kids to make friends in several ways. They can encourage their kid to participate in group activities like sports and debates or simply spend time together over the week-ends. This sense of belonging, could enhance your kid's self-image and boost his/her ability to handle negative situations in life.
Although parents need to take bullying seriously, it would be wise to exercise caution while confronting the bully directly.The best strategy would be to go to your kid's school and talk to the teacher or the principal emphasizing your concerns.
Finally, keep in mind that creating a loving and supportive environment in your home, can empower your kid to deal effectively with bullying and avoid any negative situations that may arise in his/her journey through life.
Source: Parenting with Purpose by Robert Reasoner and Marilyn Lane