We all have teased a sibling or friend at some point in life. If done playfully, kids find it funny. However, when teasing becomes constant and hurtful, it crosses the line into bullying.
Bullying can make something as simple as going to the bus stop or recess into an ordeal. Bullying can leave lifelong emotional scars. The traumatic consequences can lead to poor academic performance, low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety
It is cardinal to arm our children with bullying prevention skills to safeguard them from bullying, raise their confidence, and help them develop positive peer relationships. Even if bullying is not an issue in your house right now, it is essential you discuss the subject so that your children are prepared to handle it when it strikes them.
1. Act with Awareness and Confidence
People are less likely to bother you if your body language displays confidence. Projecting an assertive attitude translates to holding your head high, keeping your back straight, walking smartly, and maintaining a calm face and body.
Staying aware helps you notice problems in the surroundings. The sooner you know about a problem, the faster you will equip yourself to handle it.
2. Set Boundaries of Disrespectful Behaviour
Remind children that being hurtful and rude is wrong whether it occurs in person, online or via text messaging. Teach them to immediately address prejudiced remarks even if it is ‘just a joke’. Encourage them to voice their disagreement on the usage of disrespectful language by saying things such as “that didn’t sound good” or “that sounds prejudiced”.
3. Target Denial
The best strategy of self-defence is Target Denial. This approach canvasses ‘don’t be there’. Fighting back is not always the best solution.
It is sometimes prudent to leave an unsafe surrounding. In certain situations, it is the most effective way of evading trouble. Teach your child to walk away and seek adult help.
4. Adopt the Buddy System
Teach children to take a buddy along if the bully is nearby. If you are not alone with the bully, the bully will probably not harm you.
To avoid being harassed, suggest he sits next to friends on the bus and class. A bully is less likely to pick a kid in a group.
5. Hold Your Reactions
Bullies thrive on your reactions. It is natural to get angry or upset by the bully, but children must maintain their composure. Strategies, like counting till 10 or taking deep breaths, may be helpful. Smiling or laughing may also provoke the bully. Teach kids to wear a poker face until they are clear of any harm.
Ignoring the hurtful remarks demonstrates that you don’t care. Such reactions will eventually bore the bully and, he or she may stop bothering you.
6. Create Responses
Discuss bullying situations at home. Being prepared is the best mode of defence. Practice phrases your child can use in different bullying situations. Let the responses be direct such as “leave me alone”, “back off”, “I’m going to inform your mother”, or “don’t do that”.
7. Speak Up
Most children are reluctant to report bullying. Children must be encouraged to speak to a trustworthy individual about the bullying. Adults can offer guidance, and you will not feel alone.
If your child doesn’t speak, pitch in by talking to the school administration. Stay on top of the situation by following up on actions taken by the school.
8. Restore Confidence
Dealing with bullies can erode a child’s confidence. Reinstating the child’s self worth is vital. Encourage the child to interact with kids who have a positive influence. Involve him in sports and co-curricular activities that help broaden the social horizon.
Last but not the least, believe in your child. Your child must have the trust that you will help her address any situation in life. Also, remember to praise progress. Appreciate your child’s efforts when she tells you she defused a harasser. Let your child know you are proud!