Coping with Bullying
If you are the parent of a child being bullied then you are probably feeling a number of things, including anger, frustration and perhaps even helplessness if your child is not talking to you about it. If you are the parent of a child who is bullying others, you may want to deny that it is happening or feel shame and helpless as to how to deal with it.
Bullying is usually a pattern of behaviour rather than a one-time occurrence that hurts another person’s feelings and undermines their confidence through words, actions or social exclusion. It is very important to let your child know that anyone who bullies them is in the wrong. Sit down and explore your child’s feelings about the incident. If the bullying occurs at school, you may have to contact the school about your concerns.
Bullies need support too. By bullying others, the bully is letting us know something is going wrong for them. Schools, parents, loved ones and friends can all help them express themselves more positively. Remember, when we don’t take a positive response to bullying, we end up condoning the behaviour.
What Parents can do if you think your child is being bullied:
- Keep calm
- Be patient and wait for your child to feel confident enough to tell you what’s wrong. You can help this process by letting them know you want to listen and to help
- Help your child to develop options for addressing the situation
- Decide if anyone needs to be contacted about the bullying concerns. It may be helpful if you let the school know of any concerning situations so they can monitor it on school premises.
What Parents can do if you think your child might be bullying other children:
- Make it clear that the bullying needs to stop but also explore with your child if they know what bullying is and its impact on others
- Explore any worries or needs they might have which might explain their negative bullying behaviours.
- Building empathy is important. Explore how your child feels after they have bullied someone and how that other child might feel.
- Be a good role model, and remind your child that you love them and you will be there to support them to change this behaviour.
For more information, please see www.ispccc.ie or www.loveparenting.ie.