Thursday, July 22

Providing assistance to a bullied child

Do you have an elementary school-aged child? If that's the case, you might recognize this. Your child opens the front door, hangs up a backpack, and sobs as he or she tells you about a bully among their classmates, fellow campers, or after-school program peers. Your heart begins to sink, and your inner protective parent-bear prepares for revenge. "How could they!" you may exclaim. You might even start making plans.

Instead, take a moment to remember that your child requires your immediate attention. Three crucial suggestions to assist you in supporting your children are included below.

Validation comes first.

Begin with validation before moving on to the next step. Validation accepts a child's emotional experience without agreeing or disagreeing with it. Validating your child's feelings demonstrates that you are listening to them. It helps to lessen the severity of your child's distress while also allowing for more communication.

Although your heart may ache and you may feel compelled to attempt to make the pain go away, it's critical to give the message that emotions are beneficial rather than harmful. Despite their excellent intentions, they provide the message that your child's feelings are unimportant or should not be addressed.

Teach anti-bullying techniques.

After you've validated your child's experience, tell them how pleased you are with them for telling you about it. By doing so, you're teaching your child that it's vital to tell an adult about incidents like these and that it's okay to express how they're feeling.

You can then ask your youngster whether he or she wants to talk about it. After you've listened, ask if they'd want to hear some suggestions for dealing with the bullying. This method allows your child to decline the information until they are ready to receive it. When youngsters are ready, it can be useful for them to discover why some individuals bully. 

Bullies who are looking for attention are in the same boat. Bullies enjoy watching you become enraged, depressed, or worried. If you don't talk to, look at, or show them that they're disturbing you in any way, they'll eventually figure out that you're not going to give them what they want and leave you alone. Even though it may be tempting to respond to the bully, it is critical not to give the bully ammunition.

One major outlier: if your youngster is being violently mistreated by a bully, advise them to move away and report it to an adult at school so that they can stay safe. You can also inform your child that they should alert an adult if they notice another person being bullied.

Parents can notify school personnel so that interactions between your child and the bully can be monitored, especially if the bully is physically abusing your child. Even if you want to do so, it's critical to teach your children how to support themselves in these circumstances.

StopBullying.gov provides parents and children with resources to help prevent and treat bullying of all types, including cyberbullying. You can also find answers to frequently asked concerns regarding bullies and bullying on the website of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Progress is made via practice.

Role-playing can help your child gain confidence in using the tools you teach them. You can use dolls, action figures, or puppets to have characters practice not paying attention to the bully and getting support from staff members when needed for younger children.

You can also use the toys to demonstrate various scenarios and ask your child questions to see whether they comprehend them. You could, for example, have a doll hit another doll after being called names. Next, inquire as to what your child believes will occur. Will the bully get the attention he or she craves? Is it possible that your child will get into trouble? If the solution isn't appropriate for the child's aim, inquire as to what they could do instead. You can role-play nonphysical scenarios and explain physical ones with older youngsters, such as those aged 9 to 12.

To providing support at home, your child may benefit from meeting with a mental health specialist, either at school if one is available or privately. These meetings can provide additional assistance and a secure area for your child to talk about what's going on. Bullying is never acceptable, and these tools can help your children take a stand safely and effectively. 

No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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