Bullies seem to be a part of life, whether a child or adult. I have to admit I was the victim of bullies growing up. I was small, and shy, and sometimes it felt like I had a target on my head. I remember a bully that I had to deal with on the bus, who decided that I damaged her band instrument. I remember crying but I also remember telling my parents what was happening. They talked with me about it, and I felt better and was able to handle things from there.
I have worked with many kids around being bullied at school, and my own children as well. Bullies seem to have things in common, and I share that information with kids. They need you not to tell anyone about what they are doing. They need to try to isolate you. They need to scare you in to keeping quiet. Bullies are less likely to hurt you, because that might get them into trouble and they would rather threaten you and try to keep you quiet. If you tell, they are not in control anymore and they want to be in control.
Please note that today, bullies are different from kids who are aggressive and will hurt other kids. Kids today need to be taught to tell when they feel that things are not the way they should be. They also need to be taught how not to be a bully, and have things defined. If a peer is more aggressive, threatening, or if they feel scared, they need to tell you and the school, and the school needs to look further into the issue.
If your child is trying to manage a less aggressive bully, they need your help. First, talk with them and find out what is happening. Don’t let them make you promise that you won’t tell the school. You won’t be able to make that decision until you hear what is happening. They may need you to intervene on their behalf, depending on the situation and how concerning it is. Keep the communication open and listen to them. Do not overreact, they will stop telling you things. If you need time to think about what to do, thank them for letting you know what is happening and talk to them about how to proceed. You can think more about what you need to do later.
Just telling you what is happening is a step in the right direction. If you need help with how to respond, click here to find out move information about what to say. Just telling you what is happening can help increase confidence and self-esteem. Talk with them about avoiding the person, if they can. Talk with them about staying close to teachers, or to friends. Make sure they keep you updated about the situation and keep communication open. Just starting the conversation with help improve their feelings about the situation, and can help them get past this tough time.
Being bullied is never fun, but if they are able to develop skills to manage a bully, they can use that skill for a lifetime. Let’s face it, bullies are not just in school, they are everywhere, from the grocery store to the work place. Being able handle a bully is important, but if it crosses over to a more threatening situation, get help immediately. Our world is a different place, and this is one of those times where if something doesn’t feel right, follow your instincts. No one deserves to be bullied, and if someone doesn’t support you or make you feel better about yourself, get away. It’s important for being happy for life.