(Written by Susan Wright) If you watch television, it seems bullying is at an all-time high. It is not far and few between news episodes where there is talk about children and the number of ways they are bullying one another. ABC has even had many successful news segments on the “What Would You Do” episodes that display bullying in action to see how bystanders react.
It is easy to sit back, while watching the episode and be disgusted by what takes place, but if you were there witnessing the action, what would you do? Would you stand up for the child and tell the other children how badly they are acting, or would you simply walk by and shake your head wondering what type of parents raised the children?
Now, answer this, what would you do if this were your own child being bullied right in front of your face? You would not think twice about giving the bullies an earful. Unfortunately, most times bullies choose their moments when they torment their peers so they can get away with it.
What is worse, is oftentimes the victim in the situation very rarely voices they are having trouble, instead it is up to us as parents and adults, to read the signs and take action to make a terrible situation better for everyone involved.
Signs of trouble may be anything from self-isolation to a drastic turn in school grades, to added stress and anxiety about school and life in general. The most obvious sign is that of physical bullying, unexplained injuries. If you feel that your child or someone you care about is being bullied or that something may be bothering them; follow these tips for parents to learn more about their situation.
- Step 1: Talk to Them.
A lot can be learned by opening the channels of communication with your child. It may be like pulling teeth, but the more you do it, the easier it will become and your child will learn that you are interested in their wellbeing and know they can turn to you.
Ask your child about their day, about their friends, about people they do not like and why. If your child seems down, ask him/her what is bothering them and even straight out ask if anyone is bullying them, physically, either emotionally or through cyber means.
- Step 2: Talk to the School.
Whether your child if forthcoming with information or not, it may be time to go a little covert and set a meeting with a school counselor. Let them know ahead of time you are concerned about how your child is handling the pressures of school and friends and ask that they get with the teachers to see how your child interacts as school.
Teachers are in the halls and observe a lot more of peer interaction; they also have a better grasp on the social circles of the students. By getting clarification on how your child is socializing with students, you can confirm or dismiss your concerns and know how you should proceed.
- Step 3: Take Action.
If your child is in fact being bullied, it is time to discuss viable options to stop the bullying immediately. This is usually best working together with the school as they have had plenty of anti-bullying training. It is also good to get your child involved as well as the parents of the other child, the one doing the bullying.
Bullying is often related to a power struggle within the child that is doing the bullying and they feel powerful because they are able to bully someone. By standing up to bullies, letting them know you will not be an outlet for them, they do not get the sense of satisfaction they are longing for.
The bully child needs to work through their internal issues, as does the victim – the negative effects can really do a lot of damage to their self-esteem and self-worth. If the school will not help resolve the problem, it may be best to enroll into a new system to get your child out of that situation. It may sound drastic, however, to leave your child feeling defenseless and powerless in the situation is something no kid should live with.
If your child is not the victim of bullying, continue to pry in your child’s life and get them to open up; there are a number of other issues that could be a play that are just as serious, like depression.
Susan Wright DMV is a vet, a dog expert and freelance writer. Susan shares articles on health conditions that pertain to both people and pets.