Talking with My Child About Bullying
We’re jumping right into a topic that you’ve probably already experienced with your child or know is on the horizon-bullying.
If you stop long enough to think about bullying, you probably have horrifying flashbacks to something you’ve experienced. It’s one thing for us as adults to remember those difficult encounters, but another one entirely to think about someone picking on our own kid.
When our child experiences bullying, we’re ready for the gloves to come off because, let’s face it, nobody messes with MY child! We also know fighting our children’s battles doesn’t help them in the long run. They need to experience difficulty, so how do we figure out when to step in and when to let them handle it?
Check out this incredible video that will equip you to begin the dialogue with your child about bullying:
The BIGGEST help we can be as parents is to develop a plan for dealing with a bully. Dealing with a bully is somewhat progressive in nature, so let’s view these in steps:
STEP 1-Tell the person bullying to STOP and walk away. Saying to them, “Don’t talk to me that way,” and walking away takes away their sense of power.
STEP 2-Confront the bully. Talk through a basic script that your child can use in confronting. “It’s not OK for you to treat me this way, and I won’t let it happen. If you don’t stop I will tell an adult.”
STEP 3-It’s time to get an adult involved. If it’s happening at school explain the situation to the teacher, if it’s on the bus speak with the bus driver, if it’s on a sports team talk with the coach, if it’s a neighbour speak with the child’s parents.
STEP 4-Next you involve that person’s direct supervisor. If the soccer coach doesn’t stop the bullying, it’s time for the league supervisor to get involved. If the school teacher isn’t stepping in, it’s time to speak with a principal.
The biggest assurance you can give your child is that God has equipped them to deal with this. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment."
Memorise this verse with your child so they have the reminder that God has given them the power to deal with a bully.
What about your family? Have you dealt with this already? What worked and what didn’t? We’d love to have your feedback on this issue as we all work together to parent well!
The second step to take is to work with your child to develop a game plan to handle the problem. Fighting back is not always the answer but standing strong always is key to facing a bully. Kids can stand strong when they have a plan to follow. The plan may involve talking with a school counsellor. It may be a plan for your child to walk away confidently from the bully and tell them to stop. It might be ask some of their friends to watch out for this problem and stand together. You may need to alert some other adults to be on the lookout for what has been happening. Every situation is different but giving your kid a plan will give them confidence to find a solution.
Remember, this is your moment to show your child how to handle an issue they will face for the rest of their lives. We are all adults and we all know bullies that have grown up and continued to bully. Show your kids the way to stand now so they know what do later when they face it all again.