How can parents deal with bullying?

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The first thing you must do if you discover your child is being bullied is to convince them it is not their fault this situation exists. Although the physical and mental bullying is bad enough in itself, worse is the guilt that attaches itself to the person being bullied. The person being bullied can feel they are the catalyst for the bullying which may be one reason why they do not tell anyone about it.

As a parent there are several things you can do to try to put right a situation where your child has become the victim of bullying. Gaining the confidence of your child and growing trust between you is extremely important. Otherwise, your child may feel you can’t do anything to rectify the situation and so will not follow any advice you give or have any faith in remedial actions you may put in place.

Find out from your child exactly what the bullying consists of. You need to drill down to the base reasons for the bullying. Sometimes this may be something physical about your child or the way they dress, or could be something about your family setup, background or religion. Without this knowledge, the route to repair will be difficult or even impossible. However, sometimes there may be no logic behind the bullying your child is experiencing and this may be harder to fix.

You will also need to find out who exactly is doing the bullying, as again, without this knowledge it will be harder to take this further. This may be one of the areas where without the trust and confidence of your child, information may well be limited as oddly, even though your child is being hurt by someone; they do not want to give the perpetrator away.

Once you have all the facts as they appear to your child you will be in a position to decide what you want to do with this knowledge. It may be that you will want to speak to a teacher at your child’s school. However, you do need to balance this with the realisation that if a teacher takes this further it may move the bullying out of the school to the street. And, this will then be even less easily fixed. Most schools have councillors and they are trained to deal with things like bullying, you may be better advised to take this matter to them as their training and experience will be extremely helpful.

If the bullying takes on a proven physical form you may well wish to take this to the police as, of course, physical assault is against the law. Be careful if you cannot substantiate matters as the police may not wish to take any action. Also, if this is a matter between minors and the physical assault is not serious then again no action may be taken. But this may be all the bully needs to move on to either another victim or simply give up.

Most importantly, as a parent you must maintain trust and confidence throughout your relationship with your child, so if a bullying incident occurs, they tell you about it right away. That way you can act sooner rather than later, which is better for all.


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