If you’re a parent, hearing that your child is being bullied can be both devastating and unnerving. Unfortunately, bullying has become increasingly common in schools today. According to a recent survey, approximately one in three Canadian students report being bullied at school.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take as a parent if your child is getting bullied. In this blog post, we will provide you with an invaluable guide on what to do if your child is getting bullied and how to best handle the situation.
Signs That Your Child Is Getting Bullied
As a parent, it is important to be aware of the signs that your child may be getting bullied. Some common signs include changes in your child’s behaviour or social life such as:
- Your child is suddenly withdrawn and anxious
- Your child’s grades have slipped
- Your child has unexplained bruises or injuries
- Your child is losing friends or is being excluded from social activities
- Your child is afraid to take the bus or walk to school
- Your child is acting out aggressively
Steps to Take if Your Child Is Getting Bullied
If you suspect that your child may be getting bullied, it is important to have an open and honest conversation with them and their school. Here are some steps you can take:
- Talk to Your Child: Ask your child what has been going on and if there is anything that has been making them feel uncomfortable or upset. Always listen to your child and never dismiss their feelings.
- Report the Bullying to the School: If your child is being bullied at school, you should contact the school immediately. Let the school know what is going on and ask them what they are doing to address the situation.
- Document the Bullying: Keep a record of when and where the bullying occurred, as well as any witnesses who may have seen it happening. This documentation will be helpful if the bullying continues.
- Encourage Your Child to Speak up for Themselves: One of the best ways to help your child deal with bullying is to teach them coping mechanisms and how best to speak up for themselves. Show them how to be assertive and confident when dealing with bullies.
- Help Your Child Build Self-Esteem and Resilience: If your child is being bullied, let them know that they are worthy and loved despite the negative words of others. Provide them with opportunities to build their self-esteem through activities they enjoy.
- Provide a Safe and Supportive Environment: It is also crucial to create a safe and supportive environment by being truly present and listening when they need to talk. Show them that it’s okay to come to you for help and that you will always be there for them.
What Not to Do When Your Child Is Getting Bullied
While there are many things you can do as a parent if you suspect your child is being bullied, there are also a few things you shouldn’t do.
- Don’t Get Physical: It can be tempting to want to retaliate against the child who is bullying your child, but it’s important to resist this urge. Getting physical will only escalate the situation and could result in your child getting hurt or suspended.
- Don’t Blame Your Child: Bullying is never the victim’s fault and placing blame will only make your child feel worse about himself or herself. Let them know that it’s not their fault and they didn’t do anything to deserve it.
- Don’t Ignore It: It’s important to take action if your child is being bullied. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. Instead, this will send the message to your child that you don’t care about what he or she is going through and could make the situation worse.
How Family Matters Centre Can Help Your Child Cope with Bullying
At Family Matters Centre, we understand the challenges that come with helping your child navigate bullying. That’s why we offer both parenting and child counselling services to help both you and your child find effective coping strategies.
Our team of experienced parenting therapists in Burlington can provide support and guidance to parents while helping children build their resilience and develop positive self-esteem. In addition to one-on-one counselling sessions, we also provide group therapy options for children to connect with peers who may be experiencing similar challenges, such as our No Bullies Allowed bullying recovery group.
If you’re looking for child therapists in the Burlington, Hamilton, or Oakville area, call us today at (905) 466-8023 or fill out our contact form to request an appointment.