Bullying: 3 ways to help your kids
Whether it involves hitting, mocking or ostracizing, bullying can take many forms and have a lasting impact. Geoff Williams, LPC/S, said the best way to help your kids is to educate them about bullying so they can recognize it and know what to do.
What is bullying?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Education, bullying includes these three core elements:
- Unwanted aggressive behavior
- Observed or perceived power imbalance
- Repetition or high likelihood of repetition of bullying behaviors
It can happen in person, online or by text messages and any other form of contact, and can include:
- Being the subject of rumors or lies
- Being made fun of, called names or insulted
- Being pushed, shoved, tripped or spit on
- Being left out or excluded
- Being threatened with harm
- Being made to do things they did not want to do
- Having property destroyed on purpose
How can parents help their kids when it comes to bullying?
It’s natural to want to step in as a parent to protect your child from the significant harm bullying can cause. Williams offered three ways parents can help their children battle bullying:
- Start the conversation. Have a general conversation about what bullying is and when you want them to come to you. Sometimes kids and teens fear that parents will get over involved and make the situation worse, so they tend to keep that information to themselves. Give permission for that conversation to happen.
- Define the difference. Help kids understand what bullying is so they can name what’s happening. The more you can name what’s happening, the less likely you are to absorb it as a flaw of your own and see it more objectively as a behavior that’s been projected at you by someone else.
- Know when to take action. You might have to take formal action to prevent bullying, whether it be through school, law enforcement or regulatory standards for social media communication. Knowing what to do ahead of time can help you prepare for that event if the need arises.
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