Bullying is, unfortunately, a very common experience for kids all around the world. It can involve a wide array of hurtful actions such as verbal abuse, making threats, spoiling someone’s reputation, physical violence, and much more.
The advent of the internet has also brought with it a range of new tools for bullies to use to upset their targets.
So, how can you help a bullied child at school?
If you are the parent or teacher of a bullied child, there are a number of actions you can take to help them. After all, no child should suffer the pain that comes with being targeted.
If you’re unsure where to start, we’ve put together a quick guide to supporting bullied kids:
Get to know how bullying begins
According to recent statistics, over 20% of American students report being bullied, demonstrating the sheer scale of the issue. In this way, it may be helpful to remind bullied children that they are not alone and that plenty of other kids are going through exactly the same problems. If you are a parent, it may also be helpful to remind yourself of this fact every so often to avoid placing too much blame on the bullies.
Indeed, rather than taking a retributive stance, it is important to take a realistic look at the phenomenon of bullying and to understand that bullies often start targeting people for a range of complex psychological reasons. This kind of reasoned outlook will help you when it comes to finding solutions to the bullying.
Understand the effects of bullying
Before bullying can be tackled, it needs to be properly identified. Bullied kids tend to experience a sudden change in behavior and may not be able to socialize or carry out everyday activities like they used to. If a child shows signs of fear when going to school or their grades start falling, bullying may represent the root of the problem.
Give them space to open up to you
If you suspect that your child or student is being bullied, allow them to open up to you on their own terms. Probing them for specific details of their personal lives can feel aggressive and intrusive and may make them reluctant to talk to you.
Try asking general questions about how they’re feeling and let them know that you are worried about them. This may help them to feel comfortable telling you about incidents of bullying.
Encourage them to get on with business as usual
Once you have established that a child is being bullied, encourage them to put it to the back of their minds and remind them that the bully is the one that is in the wrong. You can then get on with the job of finding solutions to the problem.
If you are a parent, try cheering your child up with a fun day out with their friends. If you are an educator, try offering them an encouraging one-to-one chat, detailing their individual strengths and reassuring them that you will work hard to address the bullying.
Most bullying takes place on or around school grounds, so school is the best place to establish resolutions. Indeed, schools usually have protocols in place to make parents, students and teachers aware of issues surrounding bullying, with a focus on preventing it entirely.
If you are a parent of a bullied child, you should try getting in touch with their school as soon as you have found out about the bullying. The school will then be able to take the necessary actions to prevent future occurrences. This could include punishments for bullies, as well as special programs to help them address their own underlying problems. If you are a teacher, you can report incidents of bullying to your school’s behavioral or pastoral staff.
Of course, there are plenty of measures schools can take to tackle bullying. If you are an educator or are involved in the running of a school, this article offers some creative advice about how to strengthen its anti-bullying message.
Remember to monitor the child after action has been taken
Once some form of action has been taken to curb the bullying, remember to stay alert to signs of further distress. Unfortunately, some bullies find new ways to get to their targets after receiving punishment for their actions. Monitoring the child will ensure that bullying isn’t allowed to continue unchecked.