Beat the bullying

Carmen BryceBlog posts

As parents, we want to protect our children from everything. Sometimes the urge to wrap our offspring in cotton wool is overwhelming, but it can feel impossible to protect them from the all the dangers and woes of the world.

If your child or teen is being bullied, in school, in your neighbourhood or even by siblings or family members, it can be hard to spot.

A child who is experiencing bullying might keep it hidden well, or may not even be aware that this ‘teasing’ or name calling is actually bullying.

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What is bulling? 

Bullying is when someone keeps doing or saying things to have power over another person.

There are different types of bullying and these include:

  • Physical bullying involves harmful actions against another person’s body such as hitting, pinching or kicking. It might also involve interfering with another person’s property. Some examples include stealing or damaging things.
  • Verbal bullying is talking to a person or about a person in a way that is unkind and hurtful to that person, for example: teasing, name-calling, spreading rumours or whispering.
  • Non-verbal bullying refers to all the behaviour that upsets, excludes or embarrasses another person, for example: leaving someone out of a game or activity on purpose, making rude gestures at someone or writing hate notes about a person that will be upsetting to them
What to do now? 

If your child or adolescent has a bullying problem, here are six solutions that can help parents to be effective in taking charge.

1. Get all the facts

Instead of jumping to conclusions or making assumptions, take time to get the whole story. Ask questions of your child in a calm, reassuring way and listen to the answers. Once you understand the situation, it works best to look for solutions, not for blame.

2. Don’t panic 

If your child tells you about being bullied at school, this is an important opportunity for you to model for your child how to be powerful and respectful in solving problems. Your first job is to calm down, and don’t panic. If you act upset your child is likely to get upset too. The older your child is, the more important it is that they’re able to feel some control about any follow-up actions you might take with the school.

3. Protect your child

Your highest priority is, of course, to protect your child as best you can. Try to step back for perspective and keep the big picture in mind as well as the immediate problem. What protecting your child means will vary depending on the ability of the school to resolve the problem, the nature of the problem, and on the specific needs of your child. In some cases, protecting your child might mean that her teacher and school principal, the parents of the other child, and you all work on a plan together to stop the problem.

4. Get help 

You want to get help for your child and for yourself to deal with the feelings that result from having had an upsetting experience. Sometimes bullying can remind you about bad experiences in your own past. Parents often have to deal with guilt for not preventing the problem, and sometimes struggle with rage. Getting help might mean talking issues over with other supportive adults who can listen to you and your child with perspective and compassion. Getting help might mean going to a therapist. MyMind as a team of therapists who can help both you and your child with a bullying problem. To book an appointment, call us at 076 680 1060 or email hq@mymind.org to make an appointment. Alternatively, book online by clicking on below button.

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What can I do if I’m being bullied?
  • Be assertive. Tell the person bullying you to stop in a calm and clear voice.
  • Laugh it off. You might not find bullying funny but if the person bullying doesn’t think it’s affecting you then they might quit bullying you.
  • Let an adult know. Tell a parent or teacher what’s happening so they can make sure it doesn’t happen again or give you some advice.
  • Don’t fight back. You may get more hurt if you engage with bullies. Remember, a lot of the time bullying isn’t about you – people who bully are often unhappy at school or home.