“Doing nothing and walking away does not work!”
No parent today wants to hear that their child is being bullied. It is awful to know that your child is feeling powerless. However, this is not true. There is a lot you can do to help them.
You can begin by creating a home environment with lots of discussion and confrontation. This means table talk, at least twice a week, without any interruptions, like mobiles and TV and ten have regular family meetings. It also involves less “electronic bla bla,” in their life, this only creates depression, poor self esteem and injures social skills.
Some children don’t know how to challenge or confront either parent, (who loves them), so if they can’t do that, how can they confront a bully, (who doesn’t)? Make sure you enable your child to share more of their actual day with you, not just the nice things but what they really think and feel. This means asking, “Who did you play with today, who was nice to you or mean today, who will you make arrangements with on the weekend?”
Now to your child, look for the everyday signs of happy or sad, angry or scared. Look at their body language and what they do. Do they enjoy going to school and meeting kids or not? Is their work suffering? How does their social life rate? Don’t wait for them to announce that they are being bullied. When they look miserable or denigrate themselves, ask them what is happening at school and what is wrong.
Once you find out what is happening, then get the full story, including what they do in response to the bullying, because something they do enables the bullying to continue. Without realising it, they make the bully happy!
Find out whether they can block the bullying themselves, or need help and read my book, “Bully Blocking” (2007) with them, and help them learn the six secrets of bullying blocking. Give them about three weeks if they want to do it on their own. If this does not suffice, then, make an appointment with the school and work with them to resolve the bullying. If the school is powerless to intervene, as many schools are, (there’s more bullying in staffrooms than classrooms these days) then take your child to a psychologist, who has training in dealing with bullying, ask the Australian Psychological Society for names. It takes on average six sessions to change them from miserable and alone to happy and social and they can use these skills to deal with bullies wherever they are in the future.
However, you can also give them some tips. DON’T SAY – “do nothing, walk away or please stop!” Tell them to look the bully in the eye, wear a neutral face, stand up straight, and block the tease, eg “You’re dumb”, reply, “And?” (there are lots more examples in Secret 5, Bully Blocking”). Tell them that they don’t need to get angry and retaliate, just block the tease and wait for the look of stunned surprise from their bully!
If they are being cyber or physically bullied, report it to the school or police immediately. If they are being excluded, encourage them to improve their social skills to become more friendly and caring or tell them just to find a nicer bunch of kids to play with who are more like them! Remember, generally it’s the nerds who become successful and drive BMW’s in their twenties, not popular kids who often fizzle out!
Finally, although you may have done the best you can, not all children are the same, some are more vulnerable and some may need to move to another school. Alternatively, you can help your school and parents’ association do more to stop school bullying, at present they lack funding, resources and training.
Good luck Bully Blocking.