Teach your child what to do in a bullying situation
Calling for help is a good option. However, they first need to get out of the presence of the bully, which is often difficult.
They can learn to say: “I don’t like the way you treat me. I am going to leave right now!”.
We need to teach our children that they can defend or stand up for themselves in a way they feel comfortable, but that does not involve copying any bullying behaviour.
There are several other techniques children learn in Life Orientation at school which they can utilise, like the ‘broken record’ technique, for example. In this technique, someone who is being bullied says the same thing over and over again, like a stuck record. They decide what they want or don’t want and make it into a short statement, calmly repeating it over and over.
This repetition helps the person to stand their ground in the face of the other person’s arguments. Familiarise yourself with these types of techniques and practise them with your child.
Consult directly with the school to work together in addressing this issue, especially if it is always the same child who is bullying others.
Teach your child not to be a passive bystander in a bullying situation. Bullying will not continue in most schools and institutions if the bystanders take action.
Advocate for an anti-bullying policy at your child’s school that involves teachers, children and parents, as well as practical procedures to follow.
Do’s and don’ts if your child is the victim of bullies
What is bullying?
According to Dr Dan Olweus, a research professor of psychology from Norway who is considered the pioneer in bullying research, the definition of bullying is when a person is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and has difficulty defending him/herself.
Discuss the definition of bullying with your child.
Empower them to think about and handle conflict situations and occasional rudeness from other children effectively. This will empower them to handle bullying situations more confidently.
Build your child’s self-worth continuously to curb a feeling of inferiority.
Let your positive attention and feedback shape their sense of ‘who’ they are.
Build your child’s emotional resilience: they need to know how to deal effectively with difficult circumstances and the emotions as a result thereof. We cannot assume they will never go through difficult times.
To prevent a belief in your child that they are a victim, help them to think of and do things that are within their control. For example, where to play, places to avoid, etc.
Go directly to the bully to sort it out.
Tell your child how bad the school is. Your child should be able to feel safe enough to approach a teacher for assistance.
Tell your child to fight back – two wrongs do not make a right.
Tell your child to walk away – he/she first needs to get out of the immediate harmful situation successfully.
(Information from: Marissa Jordaan, social worker at Kidz Clinic Boksburg. For more information or assistance with bullying-related issues, contact her on 011 892 0404 or email [email protected]).
Be a hero, stop a bully, It’s not enough to say it, do it.