Bullying In Children
Aside from a medical crisis, there are few things that can make a parent feel more helpless and heartbroken than watching their child endure the anguish of bullying. But you should know, there are effective actions you can take — partnering with school administration — to help your child grow from this experience.
What Is Bullying?
Bullying is complicated and there are varying degrees of what is considered bullying — as well as varying degrees of how the targeted child is affected. Bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.
Four Types of Bullying
- Social bullying – publicly embarrassing, alienating target from others by spreading rumors
- Verbal bullying – name calling, degrading language
- Cyberbullying - text, apps or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in or share content.
- Physical bullying – pushing, spitting on, tripping etc.
My Child Is Being Bullied: What Should I Do?
It’s okay to get mad. But let that protective instinct develop into taking positive action. Time is of the essence. Maybe your child will confide in you the whole story, but maybe he or she will feel too ashamed to do so. Watch for the signs of sadness, stress and withdrawal in your child. Ask direct questions.
- Talk to your child about what bullying is and to determine the degree of the bullying. If it is physical, go straight to school officials — or the authorities, depending on the severity. Physical bullying is now defined as assault and it is not tolerated.
- Remind your child that bullying has nothing to do with them and everything to do with the bully.
- Meet face to face with school administration.
- Show your child you that support them, in any way you can or they need you to.
- Find a pediatric therapist who specializes in helping children who are bullied.
What If My Child Is A Bully?
No parent wants to hear that their child is a bully. You may feel ashamed as though you’ve done something wrong. If your child is displaying bullying behaviors—whether physical or verbal—it might be a sign of something more serious. He or she might be experiencing anxiety or depression, and have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior.
- Try to get to the root of what is bothering your child. Are there major changes happening? Perhaps a move or a divorce?
- Remind your child that you love them but are disappointed in their choice to transfer their problems into hurting someone innocent.
- Seek a pediatric therapist who specializes in this area of pediatric mental health.
- Work with the school on how best to have your child make amends.