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August 25, 2020

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Bullying can happen anywhere your child has relationships: sports teams and interest groups, social events, within the family and of course at school. We look at the steps parents can follow if their child is being bullied.

“Given your child spends a majority of time at school, it is the place where they are most likely to be bullied. If your child is being bullied, the first approach is to empower them to put a stop to it”, says Cliff Battley, Clinical Psychologist and author of ‘How to Bully Proof Your Child’.

We asked Cliff to give us his top 5 things a parent should do if their child is being bullied.

1) Listen

First, listen and take time to show them you understand. You are aiming to help your child open up about the bullying without fear of you overreacting or judging them. Allow your child to tell their story. Do everything within your power not to interrupt. Your aim is to collect all the information you can, so as to get a clear understanding of exactly what is happening. Find out where and when the bullying is occurring, and the names of those involved, including any witnesses. If you need more information, allow them to retell the entire story at their pace, even if most of it is repetition. Be patient here. It is essential you remain calm, supportive and caring while listening.

2) Have A Conversation

Next, have a calm conversation about what you have heard to check that what you are hearing is the same as what they are saying. You are likely going to be experiencing anger, frustration and a host of other uncomfortable feelings. Do not let them show! If you do, you will only serve to intensify the discomfort your child is already experiencing. Being bullied is a traumatic experience. Telling your parents, and worrying they will overreact, can be extremely challenging.

3) Stay Calm

You are going to remain calm and do everything within your power to reduce their fear. If you do, you may likely find they continue to come to you with their issues in future. Your child should feel that talking about being bullied is both safe and right.

4) Give Support

Now offer support. Remind your child they have every right to feel frustrated, fearful, angry and hurt. It is absolutely normal they should be feeling this way and makes total sense. Tell them it is never okay to be bullied and they have a right to feel safe as do all people. It is also helpful to remind them that bullies do this on purpose and that while they do it, your child’s feelings will not disappear.

5) Ask Your Child What They Would Like You To Do?

Finally, ask your child, “What would you like to happen now?” Most children will say they want the bullying to stop but they don’t know how this can be achieved. They fear if the bully is punished then things will get worse. At this point, they may not wish for you to contact their school. The situation may be minimal enough that some sound parental advice might end the bullying.

Get a copy of Cliff’s new book, ‘How to Bully Proof Your Child’.

What would be your advice for parents who find out that their child is being bullied? Tell us in the comments below.

bully proof your child

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  • My youngest was being bullied at school but he would never talk about it. It finally came to a head when his cousin came to his rescue while at school. His cousin saw this kid who was twice as solid as my boy and was jumping on his back and calling him names. His cousin pulled the kid off and tossed him to the ground (luckily it was a grassy area) and stood with my son to show they weren’t scared. What made me angry was the kid who did it to lots of kids was told he was naughty and not to do it again. My son’s cousin was expelled for a week. I kicked up a stink about that and they said no-one would say anything against this kid because they were all scared of him. Ridiculous

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  • This is a tough one! Sometimes the child will not tell their parents as they try to deal with it themselves, or for fear of recriminations …. Half the battle is identifying the problem. Then, try to get them to open up and discuss the issue. Suggestions ways to deal with it is a good starting point, unless it has already gone past that stage. Getting a role model involved often helps and failing that, reporting to school officials.

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  • Great article to read.

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  • I’d like to think that listening and allowing them to come to a solution with or without our involvement would work. If not it depends on the situation and type of bullying as to how I’d act

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  • To help your child. To advocate for them when they can’t. We allowed our son to try everything himself and when that didn’t work, it was beyond him, we stepped in… many times. Unfortunately, the school and sporting systems we were dealing with didn’t know how to deal with it, so basically did nothing. We ended up moving schools and football clubs which sadly means the bullying continues and those bullies will just move onto someone else.

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  • I suffered from being bullied at high school it was terrible as I was picked on by these girls and we were poor and I had second skirt uniform and the girls had nice uniforms and it made me self conscious and they had bras and I didn’t I was so miserable and this one girl would say things real nasty and the boys would laugh. I had to ignore what was going on and never told my mother as wouldn’t of done any good, so I just had to keep to myself. Then I thought that I was over that till in my adult life and I have had it where they don’t want you on their table so I would go and sit on my own so I stopped going to things because of it and have stayed home, so you would think the women wouldn’t do it when your older but it does.

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  • Thanks for sharing this information. The book sounds like it would be good to have in the house.

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  • Such a hard one. Always listen but try the hardest to stay calm. Or first redaction is to go straight to the teacher and demand action. But talk it out with your child, try and understand the situation. Then approach school, what do they spot. Talk, listen but show your child you will try to help in a calm approachable manner.

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  • Thanks for sharing. Very good information to know as a mom.

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  • It is such a hard situation and difficult to not get emotional about it.

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  • I’m going through this with my 12 year old daughter at the moment. It’s so hard!!

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  • Thanx for sharing. Stay calm, listen comfort and speak out are all important

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  • One of the things i worry about often for when my daughter gets to that age. Thanks for the read.

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  • Bullying is not easy to handle as a parent, because sometimes the kids dont tell the parents or their loved ones about this, it can be handled only if kids share it with their family.

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  • If only it was that simple. Bullying is a hideous crime whether by children or adults and bullies need to be held accountable. Of course we must reassure our children and stay calm however we also have to put a stop to it. We also need to instil into ones child the values and morals that society lives by. It is never okay to be a bully or to be a victim of bullies.

    Reply

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