Tips to deal with bullying: Create a safe environment where children can thrive

Credit to Author: Cheryl Song| Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2022 11:39:58 +0000

Many people encounter incidents of bullying at some point of their life, and have the misconception that bullying is a common occurrence and is unavoidable. In fact, bullying should not be tolerated as it is a serious issue in our society that can negatively impacts your child’s academic performance, as well as social, emotional, physical and mental health.

Victims can experience physical, social, prejudicial, verbal or cyber bullying or a combination. The frequency and duration of bullying incident can also vary.

Recognizing bullies

There is no single profile, and it can be difficult to identify the bullies. However, they are often victims themselves and some might not be aware that their behaviors harm others. Behaviors commonly seen in bullies include name calling, teasing, intimidating, belittling, spreading rumours or causing physical harm.

Victims of bullying

While bullies usually pick on someone who is weaker or more alone, anyone can be a victim. Many children suffer in silence as they do not know how to get the help they need. Some avoid schools, develop depression, or lash out at their loved ones. Moreover, prolonged bullying can lead to drug abuse, self harm or suicidal thoughts.

Roles of bystanders

Some who witness bullying are worried that they might become a target if they speak up or intervene. However, bystanders can play an important role safely in supporting the victim, speaking up and standing up together.

Tips to deal with bullying

· Familiarize yourself with school anti-bullying policies. Connect with other parents, school staff and parenting experts to discuss and support each about bullying and racism issues.

· Help children to create a strong support network, such as parents, friends or teachers. Be mindful that there are times when children will need to turn to other people or resources such as Kids Help Phone, a school nurse or counsellors.

· Get to know your child’s personality, their friends, social media and school life; observe how they interact with others, whether they are overly aggressive, passive or assertive.

· Identify obvious and subtle signs of bullying and how to respond in different situations. Teach children the different roles and steps one can take when bullying incidents are identified.

· Build up your child’s confidence by teaching them how to be assertive and problem-solving skills.

· Be a model to teach children ways to be respectful, kind, empathic and compassionate.

Bullying can have immediate and long-lasting impacts on everyone involved and should be dealt with promptly and with utmost care. Everyone should feel safe, secure and respected wherever one lives, plays and learns.

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