How to Address Bullying: Listen To Your Child
There are four simple steps to take when addressing bulling. Each step is just as important as the other, so ensure you put the same thought and effort into each step. We’ll explore each of these steps in the upcoming posts:
- Listen To Your Child
- Consult with Teachers
- Help Your Child Develop Positive Strategies
- Evaluate the School’s Response
The first step is to raise the issue with your son or daughter. It is important that a child is not pressured into discussing a bulling problem. Most children are embarrassed about the fact they were being bullied. Step 1 may therefore take a little time and a number of discussions to complete. Unless you feel that your child is in extreme physical danger, it is vital that your child feels they have some control over how much and when they provide information to you.
Step 1 incorporates the following:
- Choosing an approach to raising the issue
- General strategies parents should consider prior to discussing bullying with their child
- Information to collect about the bullying
- Journal entry to outline your strategy
Strategies to Raise the Issue
You can take either a direct or non-direct approach. For older children you may find that a direct approach is suitable. Older children have more understanding of what bullying involves. For younger children, asking questions about their school experience will often be the best ice-breaker. This is because the child will be less alarmed and may also not understand terminology such as bullying.
Questions you could use to start discussions about school include the following:
What did you do at school today?
What did you do at lunchtime?
Who do you like at school?
Who do you dislike at school?
Are you looking forward to going to school tomorrow?
What is your favourite part of school and why?
How To Prepare
- Prepare with a positive and engaged frame of mind. You do this by choosing an appropriate time and place for the discussion. Utilise a situation where you can avoid distractions and that there is some form of privacy away from other siblings.
- Set aside your emotions and prejudices. Your aim should be to learn about your child’s experience. Giving examples of your experiences as a child is fine, as long as this assists your child to talk about themselves. Try to keep control of your emotions and opinions and deal with them after your discussion.
- Believe your child. Take his complaints seriously.
- Don’t overreact: listen calmly and encourage him/her to express their feelings.
- Enforce that what is happing is wrong and that they are not alone.
- Don’t agree to keep the bullying a secret.
- Reinforce to your child that you love and value them, and that you are here to help.