Home Columns Mom at Large HOW TO BULL-PROOF YOUR CHILD



Many parents are at loss as to how to deal with their children who are being bullied at school. 

EDUCATING: Caroline Minju

It pains a parent to learn that their child has undergone some form of bullying or the other at school. What parents should know however is that kids, especially teens that are bullied at school have a higher rate of achieving low school grades and stand a higher chance of abusing alcohol and drugs. And worse than that such kids often develop suicide tendencies.

Caroline Minju of The birds and The Bees’ an organisation that deals with counselling and guiding kids morally and socially tackles the subject below. She writes:

Kids and teens are prone to getting bullied by their peer for so many reasons including their appearance, dressing, academic ability, disabilities or even their social status, or even parent’s financial status.

If as a parent you notice your child has all over a sudden developed signs of low self-esteem, difficult in trusting others, aggression, difficult in controlling anger, aches and pains with no obvious physical cause, withdrawal from others, long lasting sadness or irritability, unexplained outburst of crying you should find out if your child is a victim of school bullying.

Bullying is mostly severe to new students at school or students joining form 1 or form 4 in high school.  Most parents agree they underwent some sort of bullying at school at one point in form of name calling, teasing, spreading rumours, spiting or tripping and now with this generation cyber bullying has been added to the list.

Below are some of the common categories of school bullying

Pack bullying:  This is bullying undertaken by a group of students.  Pack bullying is more prominent in high schools.  It is either physical or emotional bullying that is perpetrated in person or in cyber space.  In person it can take place in school yards,, school classrooms, hallways, sports fields or school bus.

Individual bullying:  This is done one on one and bullying may take place either in person or online.  It can be physical or emotional.  Mostly is perpetrated in small areas like the bathrooms, or in any other areas that pack bullying can be done.

Cyber bullying: Is usually done through online, email, chat rooms, social networking, text messages, website posting or a combination of any of the above.  The contents may consist of derogatory comments, romours, gossip being posted in your email or to your peers emails.

Learning how to bully-proof your child is a great way for parents to take an active role in protecting their child against all types of bullying.  Parents should work with their children from time they are young and help them learn to distinguish between events and feelings.  This helps them to understand and relate to the feelings of others.  Teaching them these skills early is the best way for them to differentiate how others treat them as they get older.  This will help them to determine if how those individuals are treating them is appropriate or not or if they are in fact being bullied.

Another way to learn how to bully-proof your child, is to help them develop a sense of self.  Encourage them to learn about themselves and to learn and excel at being exactly who they are.  Children that struggle to identify who they are or constantly strive to be their “HERO” are never going to be able to live up to those expectations.  This may lead to low self-esteem, which will automatically make them a direct target for bullying.  Kids with low self-esteem are less likely to stick up for who they are and make a prime target for kids looking to pick on someone weaker than them.

It is important to encourage your child to explore activities that make them feel good about themselves. This will boost their self-esteem and feeling of self-worth.  Encouraging courageous behavior is another great way to help learn how to bully-proof your children. Teach them to stand up for themselves and to stand up to their peers and other friends who might want to bully and intimidate them. When groups of kids or teens stand together to put an end to a bullying situation, the bully is more likely to back off and won’t mess with your child again.

Every now and then make sure you encourage your child to open up to you or to a teacher if he realizes that he is being bullied at school.

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