Is Your Child the Victim of a Bully

Everyone has seen the news stories, read the newspaper reports, and
Has discussed the real issues of bullying. For many of us, it's simply a
Matter of saying, "I'm glad that it has not happened to my child."

Or has it?

Many times our children are afraid to tell us that they are being victimized.
This may be for a variety of reasons. They may be afraid that parents
Will think of them as being weak. They may have been attacked that
Bad things will happen if they tell anyone. He / she might feel guilty about
'Making a fuss over nothing'. Maybe the child feels like they deserve the
Bullying. They may also feel that they can not talk to you.

There are a number of reasons that you may or may not know about.
We will try to help you recognize the signs and assist you in resolving
The problem of bullying in this article.

Bullying can include one or more of the following types:
Threats, verbal abuse, being left out, name calling, harassment, teasing,
Hitting, pushing, and ignoring.

If you look at the list above and think back to when you were in school,
You are likely to refer to one or more of these things happening to you
Or someone you know. The degree and effect these actions have on a
Child determinates the action that we, as parents, need to take in order to
Help.

What to look for:

Bruises, cuts, or scratches

Sudden fears

Excessive headaches and stomach aches

Nightmares

Bed wetting

Afraid to go to school

Changes in eating habits

Changes in sleeping habits

Withdrawn

Broken or missing possessions

Pretending to be sick in order to stay home from school

Mood swings

Abnormal amount of calls from school wanting to come home sick

If you see these signs, do not jump to the conclusion that there is a
Bully in your child's life. Think of other things that may be bothering
Your child. Has there been a divorce in your family? Is there a new
Baby? Have you recently moved?

If the answer is bullying, it may be a difficult subject for your child to
Talk about. How you approach the situation will make all the difference
In how it is rectified.

Try a gentle approach. Your child may deny being bullied. This may
Just be an excuse to avoid talking about it. Let them know that no child
Describes to be bullied. Also, explain to them that bullying is more than
Just physical actions. Review the types of bullying with your children.
When they feel that they are in danger, reassure them that asking for
Help is not tattling.

Your child may be too distracted to talk about it. Try to avoid pressuring
Them into giving you all the information at one time. Let your child
Know that you want to help and you are willing to listen anytime he / she
Desires to talk.

You may get angry yourself about the bullying, but be careful. It's okay
To say that you are upset or angry, but remain calm. Your
Child will feel safe when they know that you are in control of your emotions
And the situation.

Whatever you do, do not dismiss the bullying as simply a little teasing.
Your child could be feeling a lot of stress. When a child is bullied, whenever
It is verbal or physical, it is humiliating and can damage self-esteem as
Well as overall mental health.

Sometimes it is not another child that is being the bully; It might be an
Adult. For example, it could have been his / her teacher, a neighbor, or a friend's
Parent. In any event, tread lightly as you forget the problem. Once
You know who the bully is, you must have a plan to defeat the problem.
The key is to make sure your child feels secure as you remedy the
Bullying situation.

If you have determined that your child has become the victim of a bully,
Then you MUST intervene and correct the problem.

The question is, how?

It is difficult to reason with a bully. They tend to be very troubled children
With poor social skills and tumultuous family situations. Most of them crave affection and acceptance.

Please do not advise your child to 'fight back'. He / she could get hurt. The
Very nature of bullying is that it is done by a person or a group of people
Who have power over their victim in some way – either physical, through
Size or strength or numbers, or psychological, through surprise or
Manipulation. Children who are bullied feel powerless in those situations
And have very little chance of defending themselves.

The bullying must be stopped as quickly as possible. The longer it continues,
The more likely the target child will become hurt both mentally and physically. Some victims initially begin expressing their anger toward younger
And smaller children, or in more violent ways.

Since the majority of bullying takes place in your child's' school, we will
Focus on fixing the problem there. By no means does this mean you can not
Apply some of the principles we are talking about in other areas that bullying
May be taking place. The first thing you must do is discuss what your
Intentions are with your child. Your child may already be feeling hiliated
And may feel even worse if you do something at the school to embarrass him / her.

Reassure your child that help is available and that this is not something
They will be facing alone. Tell him / her that you will be talking to the school,
But you will not cause a scene or embarrass them in any way. Discuss
Possible solutions with your child. Discuss all possibilities, no matter how unrealistic some may be. Talking through it can help you think of good possibilities.

Get a clear picture from your child as to what has been going on. Who has
Was doing the bullying? Where and when? How often? Any witnesses?
Have they told anyone? Keep notes so that you can refer to them when
You talk with the school.

If you feel that the situation is an emergency and you feel that your child is
In danger mentally or physically, you must contact the school immediately
And set up a meeting. If there is a school resource officer, have him / her
Present. The parents of the bully should also be at the meeting. The fact of
The matter is that the bully's parents often deny the problem. They may
Defend their child and rationalize the behavior. Be prepared for this and
Keep your cool. Keep the meeting focused on your child and putting an
End to the bullying.

Think about what you expect from the school and ask what the school will
Do to stop the bullying. Let them know what you and your child would like
Them to do. IE: Make sure that the allegations will be taken seriously and the complaint is kept confidential to protect the child. Suggest that more
Supervision is provided during break times and in hallways. Instruct all staff
To keep an eye on those doing the bullying, and that adults will supervise
Those areas where bullying has taken place.

Ask the school to send you a copy of their policy concerning bullying and
Make sure that the procedures are being followed. Also, request that you
Receive a copy of the content and recommendations of your meeting in
Writing.

One very good way to deal with a bully situation is 'Avoidance'. Coach
Your child on how to avoid the bully. Have him / her walk home using a
Different route everyday. Stay close to teachers on the playground. Come
Inside the minute that the bully appears in the neighborhood. Eventually
The bully will lose interest in your child.

Sometimes it can help to talk to other parents you trust. Ask them if they
Have ever had to deal with bullies and how they handled it.

In some situations, your child's actions may be unknowingly inviting the
Bullying. The child who the bully 'targets' is typically small for his / her age, sensitive, quiet, and well liked by adults. The bully's victim may not have
Many friends; Therefore other children are not likely to come to his / her defense.
A child who is feeling vulnerable is more likely to be picked on. There may
Have been recent changes to your home and family life, such as the birth
Of a new baby, or a separation, or a death in the family, which may have
Your child feeling more vulnerable. Talk through any family problems and
Listen to how your child feels about things. A child who feels Heard and understood will feel more able to cope with the situation.

We have found through our research that many times a child who is doing
The bullying has some problems themselves. There is something causing
Them to act in the way they do. They may be bullied themselves,
Or have been in the past. Many times it is from their own household. Part
Of the solution to the bullying problem is to try and help the bully!

Even though you can not change what has already happened, there is
A lot you can do to help your child feel safer and to avoid being bullied.
The largest and most powerful is by building his / her self-esteem and
Self-confidence. The bullies will look for weaker targets.

Following are a few basic strategies you can share with your children:

Ignore the bully
Walk away from the bully
Refuse to fight
Ask for help

We wish great health and happiness for you and your family!