As a parent, you do your best to protect your child and raise them to be independent, productive members of society. A child being bullied is a nightmare scenario for any parent. However, there are recognizable signs to determine if your child is facing bullying, and there are ways to help prevent it. Licensed counselor Colleen Torrence, MED, LPC, serving the Juneau, AK, area, has outlined her top tips for parents who suspect their child might be facing bullying.
Licensed Counselor Offers 5 Tips to Recognize & Deter Bullying
1.Recognize the Warning Signs
In many cases, kids won’t let on that they are being bullied by their peers. Experiencing or witnessing bullying can be a very traumatic experience. Observe whether your child’s behavior or emotions change. If you suspect anything, create a safe space for your child where they can be honest with you about what they are experiencing.
2. Understand What Bullying Is
Bullying is aggressive, unwanted, and usually repeated behavior inflicted by school-aged children to create a real or perceived imbalance of power. This can take the form of physical or verbal abuse, as well as cyber or social bullying. Attacking someone, making threats, placing another in physical harm, or publicly shaming them are all forms of bullying. This behavior is extraordinarily damaging to both the victim and the bully.
3. Communicate With Your Child About Bullying
The first and most important factor is creating an open, safe space in which your children feel at home discussing bullying with you. Talk to them about what bullying is. Discuss how their daily interactions with their peers make them feel. Do these interactions leave them feeling positive and supported or cut down and negative? Encourage them to understand the difference and to report any instances of bullying they might witness.
4. If Your Child Faces a Bully
If the situation arises where your child faces a bully, encourage them to face them directly and say “stop” in a calm, clear voice. They can also simply walk away from the scene and stay away. Remember to encourage your child to act using the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. This encourages respectful behavior in a tense situation. All instances of bullying should be reported to an adult or discussed in the safe space of the home.
5. Stand Up for Others Facing a Bully
If your child witnesses a peer being bullied, encourage them to report this behavior to an adult. Or, if they inform you about it, report it immediately to your school administrator. Involved parents can play a big role in helping their children avoid bullying.
If you are concerned your child might be facing bullying, or you need assistance in opening up the dialogue between you and your child, counselor Colleen Torrence specializes in family and adolescent therapy. Call her today at (907) 789-9212 or visit her website for more information.