Bullying is quite common among young people, from primary schools up to colleges. 1 in 5 students have reported instances of bullying at some point. As parents, we must be able to recognise the signs of bullying and take proactive steps to protect our children from the effects of bullying. The bullies should also be identified, reported and punished appropriately.
Here are some tips on how to help your child deal with bullying of any kind (in no particular order).
1. Be their best friend: Normalize talking WITH them and not just TO them. Use open-ended questions to make them express themselves freely. If you ask, “how was school today?”, you might hear, “fine”. But if you say, “tell me about your day”, you’re likely to get a longer answer.
2. Tell them that bullying has nothing to do with them: Bullying is always about the bully. It’s a defense mechanism they use to deal with their own emotional problems. In fact, the bully needs help and therapy as much as the bullied. Tell your children not to worry about what the bully says because they are not true. Reassure them that they are not weak. In fact, reporting the bully is the bravest thing to do.
3. Encourage them to make a couple of good friends: Bullied children are likely to isolate themselves from everyone else. But this will further worsen their vulnerability. Having supportive friends can be very helpful in dealing with bullies directly, or reporting to the authorities.
4. Enrol them in self-defense classes: Self defence helps to build confidence. It’s not just about fighting back, it’s about getting ready to fight back when their lives are endangered.
5. Be prayerful: Some bullies are not just spoilt brats. They’re actually shaytan’s delegates. You must be prayerful and teach your children how to pray in the morning and evening.