One of the most disheartening experiences for your child is being subjected to bullying. As a parent, your utmost desire is to prevent this from happening under any circumstances. Childhood bullying may happen for a number of reasons, including insecurities, jealousy, or due to a lack of attention. Regardless of the reason for it, it is important to have a conversation with your child about what bullying can look like and the ways to cope with it.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, roughly one out of every four students (22%) report being bullied during the school year. With its prevalence, Wake Forest Pediatrics is here to explore some valuable tips for coping with childhood bullying.
1. Educate Your Child
Educating your child about the consequences of childhood bullying is crucial in the fight against this issue. It is important to emphasize that childhood bullying can lead to emotional and mental health problems, as well as a negative impact on self-esteem. When engaging in conversations with your child, it is beneficial to encourage them to empathize and understand the perspective of the person being bullied by encouraging them to “put themselves in their shoes.” Additionally, you should encourage your child to embrace differences and promote kindness. Remember, being different is not a negative trait but rather a unique quality to be celebrated, and kindness is always a cool choice.
2. Maintain An Open Line Of Communication
Maintaining an open line of communication with your child is crucial for building a strong and healthy relationship. Not to mention it can help combat childhood bullying. It is first important to create a safe and judgment-free environment where your child feels comfortable expressing their thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Actively listen to their concerns, thoughts, and ideas, and validate their feelings. When your child is speaking to you, it is important to give them your full attention and not brush off the small details. UNICEF points out the importance of nonverbal cues as well. Being mindful of your facial expressions, eye contact, and body language, as they can convey a lot about your willingness to engage in open communication.
3. Reinforce Self-Esteem
Being a child is a confusing time— always learning and experiencing new things. The rise in technology has made growth and development even more perplexing. The Child Mind Institute outlines a few ways to ensure your child does not lose self-esteem along the way, such as
- Encouraging them to try new things
- Embracing imperfection and allowing them to fail
- Celebrating effort
- Praising perseverance
Children with high levels of self-esteem are often more resilient and comfortable in their own skin. Not only does this help combat childhood bullying, but it sets them up for a happier, more successful future.
4. Try Role-Playing Different Scenarios
When someone says something mean or hurtful to your child, it oftentimes can take them by surprise. This may leave them stunned and unable to defend themselves. By roleplaying different scenarios with your child, you can equip them with responses that defend themselves, but also without adding fuel to the fire.
5. Seek Professional Help, If Necessary
Many children don’t open up easily about being picked on at school. In order to help your child with bullies, it is first important to understand the signs of childhood bullying. Some common signs of childhood bullying, according to stopbullying.gov, include
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
- Changes in eating habits
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Failing academic performance or not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem
If you notice these signs in your child, it is important to seek professional help.
It is important to remember that every child’s experience with bullying is unique, so it’s important to tailor your approach based on your child’s needs. Wake Forest Pediatrics strives to improve patient care by strengthening the patient-doctor relationship, providing open communication, and working as a team for a comprehensive approach to medical care. This includes providing assistance for parents and children struggling with childhood bullying. To talk to our team about a care plan for your child, call our Wake Forest office at 919-556-4779 or our Knightdale office at 919-266-5059 or make an appointment.