As parents, we must always do our best to educate our children about what is right and wrong. In this article, we outline ten steps for parents to prevent bullying at school.
Bullying is when there is an aggressor and a victim, in which a dominance-submission relationship is established. The dominant child will indulge in actions or behaviour that insult, defame, threaten, blackmail, spread rumours, hit, steal, break things, ignore or isolate others in a systematic and prolonged manner. These acts produce feelings of helplessness and inferiority in those who suffer them.
Being a victim of bullying at school can produce psychological damage to the child that can have long-lasting effects. A lot of adults who were bullied as a child claim that they still remember being bullied and those actions still impact them as an adult.
Read on for some tips to prevent bullying at school:
Stay alert to the warning signs
If your child is a victim of bullying at school, it is possible that they avoid going to class, they are more nervous or withdrawn, they might show psychosomatic symptoms (stomach pain, headaches, vomiting, insomnia…), their school material disappears frequently, he or she may lose interest in studies, or their performance suddenly drops.
Talk to your child about their worries and about their day-to-day life at school, conveying calmness. Children can pick up on our emotions. They will notice if we are not calm. This will cause them to feel anxious and stop them from talking about their problems for fear of our reactions and to avoid distressing us. If this happens, how will we know if bullying at school is happening?
Talk to your child about how to solve his or her problems
Children have very limited life experience. Give them an example of your difficulties and how you have been able to solve them. By doing so, you are showing them two important lessons: that we all have problems, that we are not alone and that we need to talk about them to find solutions.
Boost their self-esteem
Make sure that your child understands that they are unique. If they are different to other children, explain that everybody has something that makes them an individual. Ensure your child feels highly valued and loved and has high self-esteem. This way, If bullying at school happens, they will be strong enough to deal with it.
Contact the school and inform them of the situation
Schools are obliged to get involved and take action, they must also act in cases of cyberbullying even if the bullying occurs outside the school. You can ask for a meeting with your child’s tutor to tell him/her about the situation. If the bullying is taking place through new technologies, there are specialised police groups to whom you can report the situation.
Ask the school to provide training on bullying and cyberbullying, as well as on managing emotions and conflict resolution
Schools that carry out these types of activities, in addition to teaching basic life skills, identify situations that can still be prevented. including all types of bullying and anger issues, also self-esteem growth which can prevent bullying at school.
Help your child to put their emotions into words
When your child is sad, angry or frustrated, teach them to connect with their emotions. Help them to understand and overcome their discomfort.
Teach them that there are limits
Your child must understand that there are lines that cannot be crossed. Let them know that actions have consequences. Bullying at school in any form is not acceptable. Your child should understand where that line is, whether they are the bully or the victim. That line cannot ever be crossed.
Tell your child that if there is a situation of bullying at school, they must show solidarity
The bully’s victim usually feels alone and isolated. If the child witnesses a scene of bullying and stays silent then they are part of the bully’s game. Teach your child to tell a teacher if they see any kind of bullying. Ask them the question if it were them in that situation, how would they feel?
If your child shows violent attitudes, correct them
Don’t encourage your child to portray violence. Especially if it is used as a means to an end. If your child learns this behaviour works at home then they will use it in every situation. Without realising it, they can start bullying at school out of normal learnt behaviour. Teach them to respect and have patience instead.
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