Written by Stacey Greer | February 21, 2023
As a parent, it's important to be armed with information on how to speak with your children about bullying and help them navigate their emotions.
Some statistics we learned from the Pink Shirt Day website are below:
Did you know that 1 in 5 kids are affected by bullying?
Did you know that over 75% of people say they've been bullied?
Bullying is a serious issue happening in our schools, workplaces, homes, school buses, through text messages, and online. this is a difficult issue for anyone to face, but it can be especially challenging when your children experience bullying, and you are unsure how to help them.
Recognizing the Signs of Bullying
It's important that parents and kids understand that bullying behaviour can include many forms such as: physical violence, name calling, teasing, spreading rumours, cyberbullying, and social exclusion. Lookout for warning signs that your child may be experiencing bullying. These signs could include behavioural problems, avoiding school or activities they usually like, difficulty sleeping or eating, sudden mood swings, emotional distress, mental illness, frequent headaches or stomach aches, or withdrawing from family and friends. If you notice any of these signs in your child, it is important to speak with them about what is going on and why they may be feeling this way.
How To Deal With Bullying
Learning how to prevent bullying is the best way to deal with it in the first place. Encouraging your children to be kind and respectful towards everyone around them is a good start, and here are some additional strategies that may help you.
1. Teach Your Child Emotional Intelligence
Teaching emotional intelligence to our kids is an important task that we cannot overlook. From a young age, children need to be taught how to identify and understand their own feelings in order to better cope with different emotional states. This means that parents, teachers, and mentors must create safe, supportive environments where they feel encouraged to practice self-expression, practice empathy towards others and build emotional resilience. This also allows kids to develop social skills that will last them a lifetime and foster positive relationships with those around them. With proper guidance and practice, kids can learn emotional intelligence so that they become the most successful individuals they can be.
2. Speak With Your Child About Bullying
If you suspect your child is being bullied it is important that you talk openly with them about what has been happening. Ask open-ended questions such as “What do you think we can do?” rather than “Are you being bullied?” This will help ensure that your child feels comfortable talking about their experiences without feeling judged or shamed for speaking up. It also allows them to share their experience without feeling like they are admitting guilt for something they did wrong. Listening actively and allowing them time to explain their feelings will help build trust between you and your child so that they feel comfortable coming to you when faced with difficult situations in the future.
3. Know Your School's Policies on Bullying Behaviour
It’s important to familiarize yourself with your school’s policies on bullying before speaking with school administrators or teachers about any issues arising from bullying behaviour. Knowing what steps the school will take if you or your child report bullying allows you to advocate more effectively for your child if necessary.
Make sure that your child knows what procedures their school has in place for handling these kinds of issues so that they know where to turn if needed.
Additionally, having conversations with other parents who may have children involved in the situation can help create a better understanding between all parties involved so that everyone understands how hurtful behaviours can affect others.
4. Help Kids Identify Trusted Adults They Can Go To for Help if Bullying Occurs
Make sure your child knows a trusted adult they can turn to if further issues arise, whether it be a family member, a close family friend, teacher, school counsellor, etc. Making sure there are people available who will listen if needed is essential for helping your child through this difficult time. Having this support system will remind your child that they are not alone and that there are people who care about them.
5. Role-Play Different Situations with Your Kids
One way to help your child prepare to handle bullying is to role-play different situations with them. This will give them a chance to practice what they would say or do in different scenarios. You can also talk through different options with them, so they feel confident in their ability to handle whatever comes up.
6. Encourage Kids to Stand Up to Bullies
Teaching kids how to stand up for themselves and others by using assertive communication skills (such as speaking up calmly but firmly) will help them feel more confident when faced with challenging situations.
In addition to speaking up if they witness someone being bullied, encourage your child to stand up for others who are being bullied—even if they don’t know the person well. This could mean standing up for someone who is being verbally harassed or physically intimidated.
Bystanders play an important role in stopping bullying, so it’s important that your child knows how they can help.
7. Teach Your Child Coping Strategies
It’s important that your child learns coping strategies for dealing with bullies. This could include teaching them problem-solving skills so that they can take a proactive approach when faced with bullying situations.
Helping your child develop strong self-esteem and self-confidence may also be beneficial, as well as teaching them techniques such as deep breathing or positive self-talk when faced with stressful situations related to bullies.
8. Seek Professional Help if Necessary
If you feel like your child is struggling to cope with bullying, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A children or family therapist could provide valuable guidance and support during this difficult time.
Bullying Prevention is Key
As a parent, it’s essential that you are aware of the signs of bullying so that you can take action quickly if needed. Bullying can have long-lasting impacts on children’s social skills, self-esteem, mental health, and emotional health which makes prevention incredibly important for parents everywhere.
Taking steps such as recognizing the signs of bullying early on and talking openly with kids about their experiences are key components in creating an environment where kids feel safe speaking up about issues like bullying without fear of judgment or retribution from peers or adults alike.
By taking action against bullies quickly and reassuring our kids that we will always be there for them no matter what happens, we can help ensure our children grow into healthy individuals who respect themselves and others around them!
Pink Shirt Day
February 22, 2023 is Pink Shirt Day in Canada. We are joining them on their mission to create a more kind, inclusive world where we can all celebrate our individual differences rather than bully others because of them. Take a stand against bullying. Speak up if you see someone being bullied, speak with your kids about bullying, and donate to the cause to help support anti-bullying initiatives.
For more resources on bullying, visit https://www.pinkshirtday.ca/
For additional resources on building a child’s self-esteem and confidence, visit: https://www.dove.com/ca/en/dove-self-esteem-project.html