“My daughter always loved going to school. But, suddenly she started making excuses not to go or started missing her after-school activities. I knew something was not right so, I decided to ask her what was bothering her. She reluctantly told me that a boy at school was making fun of her appearance and telling others not to be her friend. My daughter was being bullied.” – Mother of 5yr old
Bullying is one of the top concerns parents have about their children’s safety and well-being. It’s merciless and it can come in the form of physical threats, name-calling, social isolation, regular exclusion, inappropriate touching or just constantly bothering another person.
I was lucky my daughter shared her experience with me but, very few children actually tell an adult that they are being bullied because of a fear of retaliation or deep feelings of shame that bullying creates. However, bullying does create some observable changes.
If you are concerned that your child is being bullied, look for:
- Change in eating habits
- Reluctant to go to school
- Trouble sleeping or waking up
- Frequent mood swings
- Decline in academic performance
- Lots of sick days
- Social isolation
If your child is exhibiting signs like these, it’s important for you as a parent to take control of the situation and understand what a serious issue bullying is. It can have a lifelong impact on your child if it is allowed to continue by putting the child at a greater risk for depression, stress, anxiety and other physical and mental health issues when they get older.
Steps to take if your child is being bullied
- Parents should go to the school administration or teachers at their child’s school to make them aware of the problem at hand. It’s important to bring it to their attention so they can be extra vigilant when the bully is around your child.
- Use your active listening skills. As intense as the situation feels, it’s essential to avoid assumptions and really listen to your child without judgment.
- Help your child understand that them being bullied is not their fault. It is because the bully doesn’t have enough self-confidence so they make others feel bad. (or you can explain that they are throwing their energy ball at your child – learn more about this through our programs)
- Get your child involved and try coming up with a solution together. Ask them what they think they can say or do next time which might work to get the behaviour to stop. When the child takes ownership of their actions, they feel more empowered.
- Keep your own emotions in check. Although it is very disturbing for a parent to find out their child is being bullied, it’s important to stay calm. You might want to explode and confront the bully yourself on the playground but know that this will not help your child in the long run.
- Prepare role-play situations with your child and help them come up with statements they will be able to use when confronted by the bully such as ‘I can’t talk; I have to go to class.
- Encourage your child to make friends and socialize in and outside of school. This will help enhance their self-esteem and will ensure that they are not alone in case a bully targets them.
- Discourage retaliation. Don’t tell children it’s okay to physically fight or name-call in case they are being bullied. Take it as an opportunity for your child to learn problem-solving techniques.
- Promote positive body language. You can practice eye contact, standing up tall, putting on a brave face, etc. with your child to help improve their confidence.
- Keep an open line of communication. Use a calm and friendly tone and check in with your kids daily about how things are at your school. They should always know that can come to you whenever they are having a problem.
What You Can Do Next
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2. Find out More About Our Programs
3. Register for my FREE 45-Minute Consultation (for children 5 – 9yrs)
Register for my free family consultation, where I will support you in some easy tips to help you and your family, as well as provide you with some potential solutions in the strategy session. You will get some great information but also if there is a fit you will be offered a spot in our Masterclass 6 Month Program.
About the Founder
Internationally Recognised Emotional Literacy & Mindfulness Expert Tenille Bentley is the founder of The Emotional Literacy and Mindfulness Academy and the author of the children’s emotional literacy books with Jazzy and Pinky and The Energy Ball. Giving children a wonderful introduction to understanding their emotions and what do with them.
Tenille has been featured on Channel 9 News and other major outlets. Her work has been recognised in the community by The Governor of Western Australia, The Prime Minister of Australia and Australian Financial Review.
As a child she experienced severe anxiety and emotional traumas as well as bullying which left her feeling isolated, and unable to understand why she was feeling the way she did. As an adult this impacted her ability to make healthy decisions because she didn’t have the tools to understand her emotions.
Which is why she is passionate about equipping parents with the tools to support their children to make better decisions in life and healthy ones to help support and create a balanced home life.