Bullying is unfortunately a huge problem in the United States. Students who became victims of bullying can be targeted for their race, ethnicity, weight, gender identity, disabilities, or their appearance. Research from the National Center for Educational Statistics show that one out of every four students are being bullied at school and only 36% of those who are bullied report it.
Moreover, 14.8% of students report being bullied online
, meaning the problem can occur outside of school.
If you’re worried your child is being bullied at school, keep an eye out for warning signs like missing belongings or torn clothing, avoidance of friends or school, complaints about being sick or having trouble sleeping, changes in eating habits, or an appearance of distress after being on the computer when they get home from school.
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No parent ever wants to hear that his or her child is being bullied. If you find out your child is a victim of bullying, it’s important to react and deal with the situation in a healthy way.
Not sure what the next step should be when you find out your child is being bullied? Here are the healthiest ways to deal.
1. Express concern and understanding
If your child seems down and distressed, you should let them know that you are concerned. In a calm and loving manner, ask them what’s been going on at school and let them know it’s okay to tell you if something bad has happened. If they admit to the bullying, it’s important to stay calm and remind them that it isn’t their fault.
Next, find out why the bullying is happening and if your child has tried to stop it or alert a teacher. Ask where at school the bullying is occurring and who the bully is. If the bullying is happening online, figure out where and through what device. The more you learn about the situation, the better you can help your child.
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2. Problem solve with your child
Once you know the what, who, where, when, and why of bullying, you can start to problem solve the issue with your child. It’s important that you do not promote fighting back against the bully and instead tell your child to walk away from the bully or try to stick with a group of friends. You should also let your child know that it’s okay for them to tell a teacher about the bullying so they can intervene.
If the bullying is occurring on the Internet, tell your child not to respond when they receive cruel messages. Moreover, you should show them how to block someone who is bullying them so they cannot receive their messages on social media.
3. Contact your school
Once you know your child has been bullied and have enough information about it, you should contact the appropriate person at your school, such as the child’s teacher, principal, or guidance counselor. When you do talk to these people, don’t just blame the other child. Instead, make them aware of what your child told you and ask them to help you resolve it.
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4. Build your child’s self-esteem
Even though you’ve contacted the school and have talked about the issue with your child, your child may still feel low about what’s happened. A healthy way to help your child overcome bullying is to build his or her self-esteem with some affirmative games and activities. For example, you can watch an uplifting movie or read an encouraging book that teaches your child how to be confident or details how a character deals with their bully in a healthy way.
Moreover, if there was something specific about the bullying regarding how your child plays a sport or reads, you can help build your child’s confidence by practicing those things at home.
5. Be a good role model
Another healthy way to deal with bullying is to make sure everyone in your house acts as a positive model for your child. As a child looks up to the adults in the household, it’s important that you, your partner, and any older siblings act respectfully toward one another.
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Tell us in the comments: What other healthy methods have you used for talking with your child about bullying, or helping a child experiencing it?