It is normal as parents to have an emotional reaction when you come to know that your child is being bullied. You may be in a fury to jump and call the teacher or the bully’s parents. But that is in all senses not a good idea to begin with.
You have to make sure that you respond to your child calmly. First make sure you have heard your child carefully. You have to validate their feelings before doing anything else. This will help your child to move beyond this experience. Your response as parents have the first impact on your child’s recovery from such ungrateful event.
Children often do thoughtless actions. But there’s a difference between bullying and thoughtless actions. Bullies tend to have low self-esteem and therefore, they choose to inflict pain *physically or emotionally) on others or try to dominate them. The kids in pre-schools are still learning a lot of skills and figuring their emotions. Their actions may occur out of curiosity of testing.
As kids grow, they come in contact with the concept of power among peers. This social power makes them feel powerful in front of other kids. They start targeting others whom they find vulnerable.
How to deal with your child who is a victim of bullying
- Appreciate their courage to share
Kids won’t always come to their parents to share about their incidents. But if your child comes to you and starts sharing any such thing, try to focus of your child than on your temper over the incident. Be calm and tell them how proud you are of them and how much courage it takes to share. Children don’t speak because they might be afraid or they think they will be blamed for it. You have to teach the right and wrong side of bullying to your child to clear their views.
- Be sensitive
The child who has just experienced bullying may be going through various feelings. Parents must make sure they listen to the child before they speak. Do not rely on clichéd advice. You need to understand the precise issue before you proceed to speak. Do not under any circumstance overreact when your child shares an issue with you. If you are outraged, your child will fear this and may refrain from sharing in future.
- Friendly response
Make sure that your child is appreciated for the bravery it took to share. You can then use a phrase “that sounds hard” when you hear their issue. This shows the child that the things they are talking about needs to be shared and must be dealt with instead of hiding. Being bullied is already a humiliating experience. You have to stay calm and friendly when you go on to respond and deal with it. Your response must be comforting.
- Ask them – “How do you want to handle it?”
You must listen to the entire situation that your child has been in. Then you must have a calm tone when you speak further. It will always be best to first ask your child – “How do you want to handle it?”. The response will make you clearer on what your child is feeling at that moment. But asking this to your child will make them move out of the victim mentality. They will know that you trust their decisions and respect their feelings. You must never step in first to fix things for your child. Your focus must be on helping your child to explore solutions for different situations.
You can definitely talk to the school or the concerned teacher to get some help there. These days, many schools take the matter of bullying very seriously and they deal with things in their own way. You can ask the school counselors to talk to children who have been a victim and also the bullies to make them understand the right and the wrong.