Unfortunately, bullying is a big problem in our schools. Children are being abused physically and verbally for being different. This abuse leads to mental health problems, behavioral problems, drug and alcohol abuse, and academic problems. Many parents are lost, not knowing how they can help their child.
From personal experience as a bullying survivor and through research, I put together some tips for parents to help their children. Below are my tips:
Look for signs of bullying. Some of the signs that your child is being bullied are: missing or destroyed belongings and clothing, loss of friends, spending time alone, loss of self-esteem, not sleeping or having nightmares, trying to avoid going to school, unexplained injuries, and so on. You can find out more at this site What are common signs of being bullied? | NICHD – Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (nih.gov)
Keep an open communication with your children. Talk to your children about school. Ask them about their day and friends. Tell your children they can talk to you if they need to. Be interested in their activities and what is going on in their lives. If you have a busy lifestyle, make a special time each day to sit and talk with your children.
Be willing to listen. If your child wants to talk, then make time to listen. Let your children know you’re always willing to listen to them. Sometimes they just need a shoulder to cry on and someone to listen while they let out their feelings.
Encourage children to share their feelings with other adults. Understand children don’t tell their parents everything. Let your child know if they can’t tell you something, they can tell an aunt, uncle, grandparents, or another adult they feel close to.
Look for signs of mental health problems. Many children who are bullied struggle with depression and anxiety. Learn about the signs of depression and anxiety such as nausea, frequent shaking, tightness in the chest, irritability, hopelessness, talk of suicide, excessive worrying, and feelings of sadness. You can find out more at Identifying anxiety, depression signs – Mayo Clinic Health System.
Seek professional help. If you notice signs of continuous bullying or signs of depression and anxiety, look into therapy for your child. Bullying is a form of abuse that rips apart a child’s self-esteem and mental well-being. A therapist can help your child cope and talk about what is happening to them. If you don’t feel confident with the school therapist, look for another professional. If you do not have health insurance, look into state funded programs. Many state programs offer help at low cost or no cost. The sooner you get your child help, the better chances you have of combating the effects of bullying.
Fight for your child. Talk to teachers, principal, school administration, or school board to put a stop to the bullying your child is facing. If no one will listen then document what is happening and talk to the news. Do what it takes to end the abuse your child is facing.
If your child is being bullied, use these tips to help them deal with what is happening to them. It’s your job as a parent to do what it takes to help your child. No matter how busy your life is, make time for your children and be aware of what is going on in their lives. Lean on friends and family for support. Let’s stop what we are doing and speak out for our children.