According to recent research study results, about one in every three children plays a role in bullying as a victim, perpetrator or both. A lot of the children who are not involved in this vice have witnessed others being subjected to it. All children can be affected by this dangerous vice as none is immune to it.
However, this should not always be the case as parents have the power to help eliminate bullying. Below are some useful actions that parents can take to tackle this vice:
1) Frequent Communication With the Kids
In most cases, adults are the very last to know that their children are affected by bullying either as victims or perpetrators. It is important for you as a parent to engage your children in frequent conversation especially about their social lives, who and how they spend their time at school or home. If your child will be comfortable talking to you about his/her peers then it will be much easier for them to tell you when they run into issues like bullying.
2) Adult Presence in Recess and School
Research has shown that about 67% of all bullying cases occur when adult presence is missed, and as schools do not have adequate resources to help in monitoring, parents should step in. Parents can decide to volunteer a number of times every month or weekly depending on their schedules. Being present in the school or during recess makes a huge difference as you will be able to supervise children as they play or engage in other activities.
3) Learn the Signs Associated with Bullying
Most bullying victims will not tell anybody about their ordeal and especially to the adults and it is important for both parents and teachers to learn and recognize the signs of bullying. The most frequent signs of bullying include frequent complaints of stomachaches or headaches, loss of personal property, keeping aloof and avoiding school-related activities. If you note any of these signs, it would be right to talk with the child or even consult with their teacher about the same.
4) Nurturing Anti-Bullying Habits Earlier on
As a parent, it is advisable to help your child develop anti-victimization and anti-bullying habits early even if they are in preschool. You should coach them on what should be done and what should not be done like teasing, hitting, being mean and hitting others should be discouraged. You should instead teach them good virtues like empathy, kindness, turn-taking and fair play to help them develop great peer relationships and be friends with each other.
5) Being Good Leadership and Kindness Role Models
Your children will learn a lot of mannerisms and life values from watching you as their parent. It is, therefore, important for you to learn how to handle yourself in front of your kids when eating out, driving and even as you deal with your child. You should never show them that it is okay to talk to others in an abusive or mean way as they may grow thinking that bullying is cool while indeed it is not.
6) Establishing Household Rules to Curb Bullying
You should ensure that your child understands that it is not okay for them to bully, be bullied or watch as others get bullied either at home or school. Your child should also understand that if any form of bullying were to be meted against them either socially, verbally or physically they should tell you all about it. It is also important to teach your child the meaning of bullying and the harm it causes.
7) Ensuring Your Child’s School Does NOT Tolerate Bullying
An important step that you can take as parents is to ensure that the school your children attend has a zero-tolerance when it comes to bullying. This should be in place regardless of whether there is bullying or not in order to foster a great social climate within the school. If you realize that your school has not put in place effective strategies to deal with bullying, it is important to talk to the administration or advocate for such policies.
8) Teaching Children How to be Good Witnesses and Positive Bystanders
Research has shown that most of the kids who witness bullying incidents tend not to intervene as they feel powerless. However, if you teach your children to take action when such incidents occur, it would have a good effect on the whole bullying situation. You can teach your children to be positive bystanders and offer support to the victim as well as become good witnesses and report such cases.
9) Educating Children on Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is a new form of bullying that is mostly done online through threatening, mean and vulgar messages, posting of private images and exposing private information. As children spend time online a lot nowadays, it is highly likely they can be subjected to cyber bullying and you should make them aware of it. Their online time can be reduced and teach them to only post things that they can comfortably say before others face to face.
10) Sensitizing Other Parents About the Ills of Bullying
As a parent you can help in eliminating bullying by sensitizing as many adults and fellow parents that this vice should not be accepted as a normal childhood phase. You should try and educate as many people as possible about the effects that bullying has on all parties involved and the likelihood of it spreading up to the adult lives of your children. It is important to know that bullying can be successfully defeated through the combined efforts of the community, home and school.
All the above are some of the important steps and actions that you should take as a parent to ensure that your child grows without the fear or intimidation from other children. This is the only way that you will ensure that your child grows in a great environment without the fear of enjoying life and exploiting their full potential. Bullying is a major problem afflicting the society but if you play your part well and the others do the same, it will be overcome and your child will not suffer the negative effects o this vice.