How To Deal With Bullying

Being a parent (especially to a teenager) the words 'bully' and 'bullied' frighten the life out of me. I'd like to think that we have brought big J up well and I know him enough to know he would never be capable of being a bully. However no matter how well you have brought your child up there is always the chance they could be bullied.

Big J has always had a strong group of friends however over the years there has been teasing amongst each other, a few arguments  but nothing ever serious. I am so grateful that throughout his primary and senior school days he has never uttered the words 'I don't want to go to school'.

You hear so many stories of kids being bullied and not talking to their parents about it, they suffer in silence. I think all kids like to think they are old enough to deal with things especially teenagers,  but in fact at this stage in their life they need us parents more than they think.

If your child is being bullied and you are one of the lucky parents were your child comes to you and confides in you then you really need to handle it well. It would be so easy to jump up out of your seat and want to hunt down the bully who is making your child's life a misery. Obviously this isn't the best thing to do first you just need to take a deep breath and listen, you need to listen till your child has told you everything. You need all the details so you can understand fully what your child is telling you. If a teenager or a child of any age has come to you it is most likely to be serious. It needs to be dealt with but you can't takeover you need to give your child the control on what happens next.

So you have listened to your child and they have told you the extent of the bullying. This is going to be hard to hear, no matter how big or small, someone has hurt or upset your baby. So again it's time to take a deep breath and ask your child what they want you to do. Are they telling you to get it off their chest and they want to deal with it themselves or do they want you to step in.

Bullying usually happens at school so if that is the case then arrange a meeting with the headteacher. They need to know and they should follow an anti bullying policy. If possible try to write down as much information as you can before the meeting. Dates of incidents are important and also how many incidents there has been and is it physical, emotional or mental abuse.

Your child might not want to name the bully, do not push for this information. Your child may think they will be bullied more if they have 'grassed' on their peer. Work alongside the school to find out who the bully is.

The school may offer your child a councillor to confide in. You need to give the school plenty of time to deal with this situation. It won't be rectified overnight.

Top tips for dealing with Bullying

1. Listen to your child. Do not interrupt
2. Reassure your child. Let them know that they have done nothing wrong.
3. Let your child keep full control of the situation. Let them tell you how they want it to be handled.
4. Arrange a meeting with the headteacher.
5. Keep as many notes as possible including dates of incidents.

Bullying is not acceptable at any age in life but unfortunately it happens every day. If you or your child are being bullied then please do speak out, don't be afraid.

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