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Bullying – advice to parents


Dr. Elizma van der Smit July 2017

· Relationships

1 Advice to parents whose children are bullied. How do you teach your child to act self-reliant?

Most parents feel angry when their children are bullied, but it is very important not to overreact. Plan positive steps to solve the problem. Here are some recommendations:

• Listen without getting angry. Put your own feelings apart and listen to your child.

• Ask your child "How do you want me to take it further?", make their feel part of the process. It is then a conversation about the matter rather than a situation where a child being bullied by his parent to act in a certain way.

• Ensure your child is not feeling guilty. Many children feel that they have brought the bully over themselves, but remind your child of celebrities who are bullied too.

• Encourage your child to look as if they are confident, even if they do not feel so. Use a louder tone of voice and an upright posture with a straight look.

• Give the impression that you are not "bothered". Bullies would like to receive a response from you. Do not show anger or fear.

• Help build your child's self-esteem by encouraging them to participate in activities or to adopt a new hobby.

• Do not encourage your child to be a bully too.

• Do not tell your child to simply "ignore" it.

• After getting all the facts, contact the school for an appointment. Discuss it calmly with the relevant person / teacher and work out a solution. They probably have a policy on how to act and will hopefully contact the parents.

• In case of serious bullying, take pictures and go see the doctor and the police.

• If the bully does not stop, change schools.

• Do not be afraid to get professional help for your child.

2 Advice to children who are bullied

• Say something unexpectedly, for example: "I will have to live with being dumb and you are one of the smartest people in the world! Good for you! ".

• Be unpredictable and change your routine whenever you can. Even 5 minutes can make a difference.

• Stay within a group as much as you can. "Safety in numbers."

• Stay calm and keep eye contact with the bully. Do not look away or walk away at first.

• Speak with a strong, firm voice. Use sentences like "stop bothering me" or "whatever" and walk calmly away.

• Avoid places where bullying is usually taking place.

• Do not show that you are unhappy and sad.

• Make a joke and laugh at yourself. For example, if they are ridiculing your hair, say something like "yes I got it in the vacuum cleaner!". This way you take away the bully's power.

• Tell a teacher or other adult person you trust.

• If you feel you cannot talk to someone, write it down and give it to an adult you trust.

• Bullies are very good at making people think that you deserve to be bullied. It's completely wrong. Remind yourself that you deserve respect for others.

• Use the fog tank. Imagine yourself inside a big fish tank filled with white fog. Imagine that the insults are swallowed by the mist before it reaches you. Nothing affects you.

3. Advice to children who see how other children are being bullied.

• Do not just stand and watch. You empower the bully by creating an audience and this is often what the bully would like.

• Tell the bully to stop! In doing so, you let him and the other contributors know that what's happening here is not right.

• Do not join the fighting camp and fight with the bully. It may be dangerous and also aggravate the situation for the person being bullied.

• Report the bully to an adult you trust.

• Make friends with the victim and stay close to him or her to protect them.

4. Why are children bullies?

The answer is simple. Bullying behavior solves their social problems. It's easier to bully someone rather than sort out problems, or handle feelings. Bullying is the "easy way out" that children easily accept.

More reasons why children become bullies:

• A low self-esteem

• Fear of exclusion from a group.

• To get acceptance and attention from friends.

• Handle or hide their feelings of anger and / or sadness.

• They may be bullied themselves.

• Uninvolved parents. These are children who may not experience enough love and warmth in their parents' home.

• Lack of clear rules and insufficient supervision.

• Aggressive behavior within the family. Children learn aggressive behavior within the family when they are bullied by older siblings or parents. Aggressive behavior is therefore acceptable and normal for them.

• Kids who are bullies, make friends with bullies and strengthen each other in their evil.

• Many children bully, not because of home circumstances, but because they can. There is even a connection between the popularity of a child and the violence that he / she uses to show his / her power.

6. Advice to parents about how they can prevent their children from being bullied.

We as parents cannot control our child's circumstances, but there are a few things we can do to reduce the chances of my child being involved in bullying - as an audience, a bully or a victim.

Teach your child about bullying, even from a very early age. A child must know what a bully is and the behavior is not acceptable. A bully is somebody who: forces you to do things you do not want, hurt others or take or break their stuff. A bully is also someone who calls other people ugly names. Make it clear that such behavior is not tolerated in your home.

Grow a culture of accountability. This means your child is responsible for how he talks with you or his siblings, and how he deals with other family members. When your child is bullying a sibling, do not be derailed by their excuses. Just because you had a bad day at school does not give you the right to treat someone else badly. Do not allow your child to blame other people or circumstances for their bad behavior.

Teach your child the social skills he needs. Children need to learn how to solve social problems and to deal with their emotions. Keep discussions with questions like "What do you do if the children do not want to play with you?". What do you do if children are ugly with you?". What do you do if you are right and others are wrong and there is nothing you can do about it? ". Your child must learn how to deal with conflict, learn to reach a compromise, how to sacrifice, how to deal with injustice. Children should also learn how to control their impulses. You cannot just hit if you feel like that. Children should also learn how to read social situations correctly and act accordingly.

Help build your child's self-esteem. Your child's self-esteem is his basic sense of self-esteem. It's not about being better than others, but feeling that you're able to handle the ups and downs of life and knowing that you're important and looking after yourself. Self-esteem affects how children think and act. A child with a good self-esteem does not need to dominate others to feel good - and they are also able to stand up for themselves if necessary.

Develop your child's self-esteem by:

• Give them choices. what do you want for breakfast? Eggs or pancakes? It teaches them to make choices.

• Do not do everything for your child, but be patient and let them work it out for themselves.

• Do not expect your child to be perfect. How you respond to your child's mistakes is very important.

• Only give praise when deserved.

• Give age-appropriate tasks. It grows responsibility and increases feelings of self-esteem.

• Do not compare your children.

• Spend enough time with your child.

• Encourage activities that expands their knowledge and create self-confidence.

This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.