Parents have an intrinsic nature always to prevent their children from any harm. But as our children grow we get less and fewer opportunities to protect them, and we have to trust them to take care and protect themselves. Bullying is one of the silent struggles that our children go through and if it is not well addressed it can have significant psychological and social impact on your child. Here are tips to help you prevent your child from being bullied:
Make yourself reliable
We concentrate on providing so much for our children that we become absent in their lives. We use one mode of parenting, and that’s giving rules and expecting them to follow. Most of our children who are bullied suffer in silence because they do not know what to do or who to turn to and as a result, they continue tolerating their tormentors. If you want to protect your child from being bullied, you have to be there to listen, guide, and even offer to counsel. It will make it possible for you to stop the bullying immediately it starts. If the bullying is happening in school make sure that the administration knows what is happening.
Teach your children to accept diversity
Our society is beautiful because it is made up of people from different races, religion, cultures, and traditions. The different types of personalities complement each other to make us all need one another. Children who are perceived as ‘different’ become an easy target for bullying. Teach your child to be proud of their diversity and not to be intimidated by it. Bullies find pleasure in hurting other kids but if they cannot hurt your child by making comments about their diversity they will give up. Also, do not sugar coat it to your child that there are mean kids who will want to hurt them. Help them understand why people may be mean to them and it will prepare them for the bullies. Our kids may be blaming themselves for being bullied which should never be the case.
Encourage them to speak
Mean children who bully other kids intimidates them, and it makes them afraid to speak up. The bullying continues because there is no intervention and the bullies do not face the consequences of their actions. Encourage your kids to report any cases of bullying as soon as they start. You can also encourage them to speak up for themselves when they are in a bullying situation. Bullies pick on a target that they think is weak and will not retaliate to their meanness. Let your child threaten them to report or give a funny comment to make the bullies look socially unacceptable.
It is the responsibility of us as parents not only to protect our children from bullying but also protect other kids against this vice. The victims of bullying go through a lot of psychological torment that it is sad even to imagine. When you live in an area that you know bullying is prevalent the best way to protect your child from being bullied is by making awareness. Some children engage in bullying because they lack something and knowing the cause can help correct these kids. Schools are the best place to start the awareness program that will cater both the perpetrators and the victims. Providing counseling and rehabilitating the victims of bullying depending on the psychological, physical, and emotional trauma will help them heal.
Teach them how to handle bullies
Physical violence is never the solution to deal with bullies, on the contrary, it makes your child look as guilty as the bully. Building a positive behavior in your child is the start of handling bullies. It will help them shut off all the negativity spread by the bullies that may cause the psychological torture. Surrounding themselves with friends is one of the ways to avoid bullies and also assure them that walking away from bullies does not mean that they are weak it only shows they are much mature than the bullies.
When your children are too young to fully grasp the concept of bullying role play can be handy. Act as the bully and teach your child how to handle the different situations that a bully may use. Teach them how to stand up for other kids who may be bullied and above all teach them to respect diversity.
Teach your kids social skills
Socialization of our child to the society was a role that parents used to do, and that’s why we had children who could survive on their own. Today, we leave the duty of socialization to our nannies, the media, and our kid's peers. Children who lack social skills try too hard to fit in with their peers which sometimes means they have to endure bullying just to fit in. The ‘leaders’ of the groups that they try to fit into are most likely to be the bullies.
Teach your kids how to start a conversation, introduce themselves, and how to be confident in their skin. Teach them that it is wrong to pretend to be someone they are not to gain social acceptance because they will either become the bullies or tolerate bullying.
Our children deserve a chance of a happy childhood and bullying robs them a fair chance of cognitive growth that comes with being a child. Low self-esteem, fear of ridicule are some of the long-term impacts that bullying has on our children. The girls are more affected when it comes to bullying compared to boys. Cases of teenage girls committing suicide because of bullying are more compared to boys. No child deserves to be ridiculed, beaten, or name-called because they are ‘different.' It is a task for all parents not to just protect your child but all children from bullying. Teach your child how to stand for another kid who is being bullied. Love and listen to your child to protect them from being bullies. It all starts with us.