As adults, we often know how to recognize bullying and deal with these situations in an appropriate and respectful manner. However, for children, this can be a new and scary experience. When someone is picking on them (or a friend) for how they look, the way they act, what they say, or the things they like, it can be tough to handle. It is important to teach children to be respectful toward one another and stand up against bullying.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month and a great time to start the conversation with your children. Here are a few ways that you can work with your child to combat bullying:
Oftentimes, children are bullied for being different, but no two people are the same. It is our differences that make us who we are. Teach your children to be accepting of others for who they are. Educate them about others who may have special needs and how they can be supportive. Encourage them to look for similarities rather than differences, such as both liking the same books, games, or movies, or sharing a favorite toy.
Your children are watching you all the time, whether you realize it or not. They pay attention to what you say and do. Demonstrate through your actions and words that you treat others with respect and are accepting of differences. Show them how to make friends and be nice to others even if they are not nice in return. Even if they don’t like someone, they can still treat them with kindness.
Create an environment where your child feels comfortable coming to you with problems. Make it a point to talk about their day, their friends, what went well, and what they wish went differently. Encourage them to speak up and tell a teacher or adult at school if they see someone being bullied or are being bullied themselves. And make sure they understand what actions or words are considered bullying and are not okay.
If your child is being bullied, partner with their teachers, coaches, friends’ parents, or others to address the situation. Getting them involved in counseling can help them process their feelings and work through challenges that they are facing. Sometimes it is easier for them to talk about it with someone else.
There are also a variety of therapies available at PediaPlex to help your child overcome challenges. For instance, speech therapy or social skills training can help them learn to interact with others more effectively and develop friendships. There are also treatments for autism, dyslexia, learning disorders, fine motor skills, and other difficulties they may be facing that can contribute to bullying. By boosting their confidence in their abilities and helping them work on these skills, they can feel more prepared to address potential bullying.
If your child comes to you with concerns, take what they are saying seriously. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but in their mind and life, it is. As adults, we realize when people are just looking for a fight or picking on others because of their own insecurities, but children often don’t. They may not be able to ignore or shake off troubling situations. Work with them to identify problems and come up with potential solutions. Keep following up to ensure that things are improving, not getting worse.
Bullying is a serious problem, but when everyone works together, we can find solutions. If your child could benefit from counseling or various therapies, the PediaPlex team is here to work with you and create a personalized plan that meets your child’s needs.
Is your child being bullied? Contact PediaPlex today to find out how counseling or therapy can help.