What can be done about bullying?

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Children are often exposed to bullying in school – here is what we can do to help stop this.

A freshman teen in Tennessee, US was recently the victim of bullying because he often wore the same outfit to school. Coming from a household that was struggling, he didn’t have much.

Two teens in his class decided to take action against it. They both brought in shoes, tops, and trousers for him. In this small action, they stood up to the bullies.

What can parents do?

Talk to your children

Some preventative measures can go a long way. It is never too early to start teaching your children about empathy. Children who are able to understand their feelings and the feelings of others are less likely to be bullies. They will be able to foster healthy relationships and be better able to handle situations that make them angry.

Lead by example

Even more importantly, children will pick up social behaviour cues from watching you, so lead by example. They will watch how you interact with your spouse, members of your family or even the cashier at the shop.

They see how you treat someone with a mental or physical disability. If you have prejudice towards different races or gender, they will mimic your behavior because they deem it acceptable.

Talking about bullying

What to do if you suspect your child is being bullied

It may be obvious that your child is being bullied, they may tell you outright, or it may not be. For example, they may feel ashamed or embarrassed about being the target of bullying.

Keep constant and open lines of communication between you and your child. This will help them feel comfortable in talking to you about what is going on in their life.

If you know that your child is a victim of bullying

Teach your child that it is important that they not take everything to heart. Most bullies find satisfaction from their victims reaction. Teach your to be independent and able to not feed into those reactions.

The old saying “Just walk away,” was made for these situations. Additionally, let your child know that they have every right to speak up for themselves. To be able to say “No,” or “Stop,” is okay when being treated inappropriately.

Child walking

Of course, these are just a few tips. Each case of bullying can be handled differently depending on the severity and the children involved. But most important in each case is just to listen to your child.