It’s heartbreaking to think that your child could even witness bullying much less be subjected to it. However unfortunately in today’s society it seems to be all too common. According to recent research conducted by the Federal Government one in four children in Australian schools are bullied so it is important as parents we can talk to our children about this issue and have some tools to deal with it. An obvious goal is to try and reverse the culture of bullies that does exist and will most likely exist for some time, but while it does exist we can if nothing else encourage our children to be courageous. Studies have shown that if a bystander intervenes quickly the victim is less likely to be bullied. So encourage your child to not only not stand up to bullies but stand up for others to.
- Talk to your child and actively listen to them, hear them.
- Remember bullies want a reaction so you have two choices ignore or give them a response they were not expecting.
- Try to stay calm and let you child know that you will help them. Negative comments won’t help the situation.
- Practice banter and comebacks and work at extending and developing your child’s social network – not forcing it but taking advantage of opportunities when they arise.
- Guide children but allow them to handle normal playground conflicts and discuss managing emotions and managing anxiety.
- Remove baits for bullies. Unless your child has a rock solid self esteem leave their bright green fluro pants at home.
The following websites we feel provide some valuable strategies for dealing with bullying and helping your child address this issue should they come across it.
This website provides some really good questions that are age based you can ask your child to try and determine if they have been subjected to bullying. Many children hide bullying so these questions can be a trigger to a discussion about something that may be troubling your child at school.
Kidspot.com.au has a wide range of resources for all areas of parenting however it also has a really informative section called ‘facts and figures about bullying’. In addition, on this page is a list of links to more specific areas of information from ’15 things parents should know about bullying’ through to what to do if your child is the bully.
Kids helpline offers a lot of fun stuff for children but is best known for their 1800 number for children to call should they need to talk to someone.
Ken Rigby is a published author, an Adjunct Research Professor and an educational consultant based at the University of South Australia. This site provides a lot of studies and research into the problem of bullying but also some suggestions for combating this social issue.