Bullying is a commonly observed act in grade schools, and is often defined as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance” (stopbullying.gov). As many children become victims of bullying throughout their grade school years, it is vital that parents are equipped with the tools to help their children through these emotionally challenging situations.
Bullying can have long-term negative effects on your child, including but not limited to: low self-esteem and self-worth, fear of social situations, diminished confidence, and excessive worrying. If you are notified that your child may be the victim of bullying, taking immediate action can lessen the impact of these possible outcomes.
If your child approaches you about being bullied in school or during other activities outside of your home, it is important to handle the situation in a sensitive manner. Bullying is described as a collection of unwanted actions directed at the victim. This being the case, there is not a single correct plan of action for preventing further bullying.
There are, however, a few key strategies you can use when responding to your child being bullied:
- Maintain and demonstrate a calm problem-solving approach
- Assure him or her that they have your support
- Emphasize that it is nothing to be embarrassed about
- Let your child know that telling you (and/or a school supervisor) is the right step
Bullying occurs predominantly in schools, and for this reason many schools have bullying prevention programs in place. After becoming aware of bullying, parents may wish to contact their child’s school to alert them of the issue and learn about classroom intervention efforts.
Reaching out to your child’s school may provide additional information about how to help establish a safe learning environment and prevent future bullying incidents. Children can carry the negative outcomes of being a victim of bullying well past their childhood and adolescence, thus it is essential to know how to approach bullying issues. To learn more, visit StopBullying.gov — a resource that offers tools and tips for parents and educators.
If you have specific concerns about your child and bullying, contact us at Georgetown Psychology Associates to schedule an appointment or for more information.