Kids Getting Bullied

Strategies for Talking to Kids Getting Bullied

Talk to your kids about being bullied - Create Happy KidsGetting your kid to talk to you about a problem can be challenging, especially if they are being bullied.

You feel frustrated that your kid won’t share what’s going on and you can’t help him/her with the problem. You may even fear for his/her safety.

What is an effective way to encourage your kid to talk about problems?

A child’s perspective

First, a little insight into your child’s perspective:

  •  Children often feel responsible for what happens to them and around them. They may feel at fault, when in reality they are not to blame.
  • They may not even know how to define the problem. For example: bullying. Sometimes, the bully’s behavior is not overt and obvious, which further complicates things.
  • They may think that they would get in trouble for ‘telling’ on a peer. After all, they’ve learned not to tattle!
  • They may feel helpless. They think there is no solution.

Successful communication

Keys for successful communication - Create Happy KidsHere are FIVE keys to your success in inviting your child’s input and getting the information you need in order to help your child:

  1. First and foremost: Keep your emotions in check.
    1. If you show your anger or frustration, your kid will take it personally and clam up!
  2. Create a safe-zone: This is powerful and important for your child to know and accept.
    1. For example, you could start by saying: “Sometimes at school, kids can make each other feel so bad. If that happens, I want you to know that you can always talk to me about it. This is a safe zone and I promise to listen.”
    2. Note: this statement is not emotionally charged, neutral in nature, and devoid of judgment.
  3. Allow TIME for your child to respond. Wait. Let your child share what he/she wants to share.
    1. You may encourage and nudge but do NOT push.
  4. Now that you have opened the door to dialogue, Define the problem: whether it’s bullying or other inappropriate behavior, the problem may not always be clear to your kid.
    1. First, allow him/her to talk about their experience and then help your child understand the problem.
    2. For example, you could explain why the behavior (that your child may have witnessed) wasn’t appropriate.
  5. Reward your kids for listening to their inner voice and the ‘feeling’ that something was wrong and they needed to talk to an adult about it. Encourage that behavior.

The THREE most important factors in addressing a bullying issue No Bullying - Create Happy Kidssuccessfully:

  • Establishing the fact that bullying will not be tolerated and is not accepted as part of life.
  • Establishing an open and safe time/space for dialogue with your kids, consistently.
  • Working together with your child’s school (teachers, administration, staff) to support your child by: Establishing effective RULES regarding anti-bullying & providing effective protection for victims of bullies.

When it comes to addressing bullying: Parents and teachers can help children by working together to increase awareness, create a safe zone for kids to ask for support, and establish clear and effective rules about expectations and behaviors at school.

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