The Bully Monster
Bullying among children is understood as repeated, negative acts committed by one or more children against another. And it is NOT ok. Bullies usually are battling insecurities themselves and they take out their fears by being mean to others. Unfortunately, bullying is quite common during childhood. And it can be either verbal or physical. Sometimes, such instances can result in severe psychological scars and trauma. In extreme cases, it can result in tragedies.
We, as parents, should empower our children to speak to us if such a thing happens to them. But first, we must understand why bullies act like the way they do.
Who Are Bullies?
Bullies usually pick on someone who they feel are emotionally or physically weaker than them. They do this to gain attention or to feel powerful. Maybe they have been treated the same way in their homes. Sometimes children take to bullying as an escape route as it is easier to harass someone than to work things out.
Look for signs
It is important to teach children not to succumb to bullying tactics. If care is not taken in teaching children how to effectively respond to such acts they may be forced to believe that something is wrong with them.
Unless the child comes to us with their problem, it might be difficult to figure out if they are victims. But there are some warning signs. Has the otherwise cheerful child retreated into a cocoon? Does he/she seem anxious or upset? Does he/she start making excuses for avoiding school or playtime? If you suspect such a thing, coax and cajole him/her to pour their feelings to you. A good practice would be to take the help of excellent books on the subject for the kids to learn more about bullying, not only how not to be a victim but how not to be one.
How To Handle Bullying
Talk and Listen: The best preventive measure will be to talk about bullying when the child starts school. Thus, if such an incident should occur, the child should be aware of it.
Support and Comfort: Kids might be either ashamed or reluctant in admitting that they are being harassed. Once you have established that it is indeed bullying, the first thing you should do is comfort your child. Let him/her know that you are there for them and it is the bully that is at fault and not your child.
Take the school/parents into confidence: If the harassment is happening at school, let the school authorities know about it. By doing so, you might save another child from getting bullied. If the harassment is happening at the playing area of your residential complex, try to speak to the parents of the bully. Care should be taken to not get into a confrontational mode but rather a conflict-resolution mode.
Don’t Fight Back: It is advisable not to ask your child to retaliate with anger but to ignore the remarks. Bullying back the bully may worsen the situation and someone might get injured.
Here are a few helpful books that you can use to address bullying with your child.
Everyone Matters: A First Look at Respect for Others by Pat Thomas
This book teaches young children how to treat everyone with respect, no matter how different they may seem. It also talks about working towards deserving respect.
The No More Bullying Book for Kids: Become Strong, Happy, and Bully-Proof by Vanessa Green Allen
This book addresses bullying by providing an overview of bullying, Practical tips for specific words and actions, strategies for becoming bully-proof and also Real-world examples and anecdotal illustrations.
The Juice Box Bully: Empowering Kids to Stand Up for Others by Sornson, Bob, Maria Dismondy
This one talks about the importance of always standing for the truth and standing up for others. If a child witnesses bullying, he/she should be able to support the victim.
Stop Picking on Me: A First Look at Bullying by Pat Thomas, Lesley Harker
The first step for children to solve personal and social problems such as bullying is to understand them. This book is written by an experienced psychotherapist and counselor and is an approachable picture book that explores this difficult subject. It also suggests ways to resolve conflict among children.
Big Bully and M-Me (hOle books) by Arti Sonthalia
This one takes the help of a story. The protagonist Krish has to deal with his partner who is a big bully. Will Krish be able to come out of this mess and give his speech at school?
The best bullying counselor for a child are his/her parents. With awareness, love, and support, we can beat the bully monster.
About the author
Shweta is the Strategic Designer & Editor for News Shuttle. Writing has been a passion with her and she hopes that this endeavour will help kids learn and have fun at the same time.