October is National Bullying Awareness Month. According to Merriam-Webster, bullying is defined as abuse or mistreatment of someone vulnerable by someone stronger and more powerful. Unfortunately, bullying occurs far too often. The National Center for Educational Statistics notes that 20.8% of students reported being bullied, but 64% of children are bullied and do not report it. Bullying can make a child or teen feel isolated, shamed, anxious, or depressed. If you are worried that your child is struggling against bullies, here are some simple tips for you to help..
1. Look for warning signs. Look for changes in sleeping patterns, loss of appetite, or changes in mood and behavior. If you notice that something is different with your child, pay attention to any non-verbal cues. Many children struggle with telling their parents that they are being bullied, so it is important to look out for any warning signs. Let your child know that it’s okay for him or her to confide in you.
2. Know your facts regarding bullying. It is difficult for any parent to discover that their child is being bullied. Before you take action, first determine what type of bullying is going on. Figure out if your child is being physically attacked or if your child is being bullied verbally. Once you identify the type of bullying that is occurring, it is important to get school officials involved. Your child’s school may offer a bullying prevention program too.
3. Provide your child with emotional support. Of course, your child will need your support throughout the process. Provide an ear to listen to your child, and tell your son or daughter that the bullying is not his or her fault. Also, you may need to teach your child about how to be assertive and how to use processing skills. Educate your child about utilizing problem solving skills and conflict resolution in social situations. Furthermore, your teen can see a therapist to learn calming skills, to eliminate any excessive emotional reaction.
Unfortunately, bullying affects many children; it is not something to be ignored or dismissed. It can have long-term effects on your child and impact his or her mood and behavior. Now, you can use these strategies to help your child overcome bullying and develop resilience.