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How to Discuss Bullying With Kids: Tips and Strategies


Person In Front Of A Screen
Digital Art: Person In Front Of A Screen

Are you the parent who wants to raise his/her child mindfully and mentally strong? If yes! then you must have to discuss bullying with your child to prevent the adverse circumstances that can happen in anyone's life.


According to the National Center Against Bullying, “Bullying is an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that intends to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power, or perceived power, over one or more persons who feel unable to stop it from happening.”


Bullying takes place everywhere and it comes in many different forms. Individuals are bullied for many different reasons such as:

  • Socioeconomic class

  • Skin tone/colour

  • Race/Ethnicity

  • Gender/Identity

  • Preferences and choices

  • Religion or beliefs

  • Education (Or lack of)

  • Income

  • Background


Bullying is most common among schoolchildren. In 2018, UNESCO revealed a report stating that one out of three teens is bullied worldwide.


For bullying to be tackled, parents need to discuss bullying with their children. If it continues to be ignored, it can lead to many problems among children and growing teens.



Why does Someone Bully?


The reasons listed above are excuses a bully might use to harass someone else because they feel superior. A person can be a bully because they were a victim once too and are releasing pent-up trauma.


They may feel left out, afraid, or unacknowledged. Other times the bully or group of bullies enjoy being powerful and hurting other people and don’t know how to accept other people’s choices and opinions.


It may be hard to understand why a person bullies, but understanding why can help your child identify their feelings and what to do, as well as what not to do when they feel that way. It can also help them figure out if a certain individual is a bully or just someone they dislike.



Is it Bullying?


Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a situation involves bullying or not. You just keep asking yourself what's happening on this earth.


These are some things that aren’t bullying:

  • Arguments

  • Disliking someone

  • Not being involved in everything

  • Having a difference of opinion

  • Joking around

  • Accidental physical contact


Things that are considered bullying:


  • If any of the actions listed above are repetitive and start to become more aggressive.

  • Prejudice or Prejudice-motivated rumours assault - Hate for religion, gender, race, or ethnicity.

  • Verbal bullying - name-calling, derogatory terms.

  • Cyberbullying - Posting rude comments and making group chats to poke fun at others.

  • Emotional bullying - Embarrassing someone, spreading rumours.

  • Physical bullying - Hitting, kicking, tripping, ruining the other individuals’ things.

  • Sexual bullying - Body shaming, posting pictures, assault, touching without consent, inappropriate comments.


If you aren’t sure if a certain act is bullying, think of the possible intent or motives, and the effects it can have on the victim.


Children Eating Lunch Together
Children Eating Lunch Together

What to do if your Child is Bullied


Be on alert for warning signs of your child being bullied. Most children don’t approach their parents if they are being bullied.


If your child tries to make excuses to not go to school or is always anxious or irritated, they may be facing trouble at school. If they are distracted or their grades are falling, don’t just assume they aren’t working hard. Your child might be worried about other issues going on at school. If you have suspicions that your child is being bullied you should approach them or their teacher.


It can be very painful to learn that your child is being bullied, however, at this time, you need to keep your emotions in check and comfort your child. Ask them what happened, and carefully consider what the next step should be.


Until you can come to a solution, help your child cope with the situation. On your part, what you can do is spend time with your child and create a safe space for them at home. Discuss why the bully is acting this way and explain to them that they are not the problem.


Encouraging self-confidence and love can help your child ignore what the bullies are saying about them. Make sure you check up on your child every once in a while to ensure the bullying isn’t progressing.



What not to do if your Child is being Bullied


Don’t encourage them to fight back, as that will just provoke more violence. On the other hand, don’t tell them to ignore it either. Explain to your child that they should open up to teachers, friends, or classmates about the issue and ask for help. Teach them the right way to react to the bully’s comments and express how they feel.


It’s important to explain to your child what bullying is and assure them that they can approach you when there is a problem. Another thing to avoid is to tell your child to ‘man up’ or tell them it isn’t that serious.


Know the phrase Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me? That isn’t true. As a parent, you need to acknowledge your child's feelings and emotions so they understand that others disregarding or hurting them is not okay.



How and When you should Intervene?


If you are concerned about your child and bullying going on at their school, consider the right time to intervene. Although most children don’t like parents getting involved in school problems, gently explain to them that the situation can get aggravated.


You should approach the school or other party:

  • When your child asks for your help

  • When all other methods of stopping the bullying have been tried

  • When you have sufficient evidence

  • When the situation may lead to suicidal thoughts or deaths

  • When it involves death threats, assault, or any illegal activity

Remember that the focus should be to resolve the situation and ensure it doesn’t happen again.



What to do if your Child is a Bully


As a parent, it might be a bitter pill to swallow to find out your child is a bully. In this case, do not deny that your child has done anything wrong. Listen to them without judgment and as hard as it may be, don’t express your anger.


However, show you are disappointed. Talk with your child to understand why they are doing what they are doing and ask them if they are facing problems as well.


You need to explain to your child why what they are doing is wrong. The best way to do this is to give examples and put them in the victim’s shoes. Don’t label them as bad, but teach them that their behaviours are harmful and that they can choose to change. Most of the time bullying isn’t extreme and can be handled easily.


Another thing to do is reflect on your behaviour, most of the time kids mimic the way people around them act.


To resolve the situation, make your child apologize and reconcile. If you need to, ground your child or make them do other activities such as volunteer work. Discipline will teach them that their actions have consequences, and working with others will teach them compassion.


A Child In Trouble
A Child In Trouble

Don’t be a Bystander


Most children witness bullying taking place but don’t approach the bully for fear of being targeted. You can explain to your child that these kinds of situations always need a first responder. If at least one person calls out a bully, other kids will have the strength to stand up as well.


However, in serious cases, it isn’t wise to do so. Explain to your child that if they don’t feel safe or comfortable approaching a bully, there are numerous other things they can do to make a difference. This includes:

  • Comforting the victim

  • Approaching a teacher or adult

  • Creating a positive and safe environment

  • Intervene indirectly

  • Record the interaction

"Having each individual do their part can create a safe environment for everyone".



Effects of Bullying on Your Child


Bullying can severely impact an individual's life. Bullying can lead to low self-esteem, trauma, relationship problems, and much more. These problems can follow a person into adulthood and can create a negative mindset about the world around them.


Since bullying has become so widespread, parents need to take these issues seriously and openly discuss them with their children in order to prevent further problems. Tackling bullying before it gets worse can save lives.


By creating a safe environment and nurturing your child to understand compassion and accountability, you can help your child learn to be caring for others. In the case where your child is being bullied, having a safe environment and home will help your child approach you with their problems.


top-tips-to-discuss-bullying-with-kids
Infographic: Top Tips To Discuss Bullying With Kids

Takeaway


Discussing bully with your children has never been an easy task to perform but as a parent and the good wishes of your child, you must have to discuss it and its effects. Otherwise, the consequences can be harsh and long-lasting. To make this discussion smooth and easy, we have provided you with the tips and strategies to apply while discussing bully with your kids.


If you're a parent and have tackled a similar situation before, let us know what strategy you applied and we'll be happy to include it here and help other parents.

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