Online bullying gets plenty of attention, with young people having access to social media. But bullying in real life (IRL, as kids abbreviate these days) is still very much a problem, in the forms of in-person verbal attacks, physical fighting, intimidation and ostracization.
If your child becomes withdrawn and depressed, or if you see physical signs of bullying, you should first have a conversation with your child about what is going on. Remember to do more listening than talking, and acknowledge that they are in a bullying situation.
Bullying is harmful to children physically and emotionally, and may require intervention for the kids on both sides of the equation.
It may be necessary to address the situation with the school or organization where the bullying is occurring, and to follow up with your child’s health care provider to determine if counseling or other services are warranted. If not properly addressed, bullying can be very severe, and the consequences can be long-lasting.
You may also find yourself on the opposite side of the equation, and receive a call that your child is the aggressor. While this might be uncomfortable, it’s critical you take the issue seriously and recognize that it’s not just a phase. Children who grow up with unchecked bullying behavior can have serious problems later in life, such as trouble adapting to adult situations and relationships. If your child is the aggressor:
Talk to your child about why they are bullying, and you may discover an underlying reason that needs to be addressed.
Have a conversation with your child’s teachers. They may provide valuable insight, as they observe your child’s interactions with others.
Ask yourself if there are adults or family members who may be bullying your child. As the saying goes, “hurt people hurt people,” and you may discover that your child is acting out in response to problems they are experiencing in their own lives.
Model empathy at home, and talk to children about what it feels like to be bullied so they understand the consequences of their actions.
More often than not, there is a root cause that needs to be addressed. Your child’s school counselor as well as your child’s pediatrician are sources of guidance and advice.
Bullying is harmful to children physically and emotionally, and may require intervention for the kids on both sides of the equation. Stopping the bullying behavior is the only way both children can effectively heal — and grow into secure adults.
Brought to you by: santiamhospital.org