Growing up, I didn’t know I was poor until I went to elementary school. My peers often and thoughtlessly shared comments on the type of shoes I wore. But why am I sharing this?
Well, Mom and Dad, bullying happens.
There is no real way to prevent bullying. We are judged on the clothing we wear, our weight, our social interactions, even on our lifestyle. There is no end to the array of bullying topics. Social media also plays a big part in bullying. How many friends do you have? Did you see his post? Why is she friends with her and not her?
Here are some ways you can stay aware of potential bullying in your child’s life:
- Leave the Dishes and Just Listen
As parents, we all have chores to do around the house. But the moment when your child says, “Mom, I need to tell you something,” drop what you’re doing and pay attention. Avoid telling your child, “not right now” or “a little later, okay?” or “right now I need to finish this.” Just stop right then and listen.
Listen to your child without judgement. Their problem might seem small but it can have a large effect on them. When listening, avoid asking too many questions, using name calling, criticizing, or comparing them to other children. Avoid saying things like: “Why doesn’t he want to be your friend?” “Did you tell the teacher?” “Who is he friends with?” “Well, why can’t you just be social like your brother?” or “I told you that haircut was horrible!” Instead just listen and be supportive, saying, “I understand you’re upset. It’s okay to be sad.”
- Be Aware of the School’s Policy
Talk to your child’s school to find out their policy on bullying. Avoid waiting a long period before talking to the school when you know there is an issue. If you are not sure there is an issue at school but see changes in your child that are unusual--like not eating, sleeping a lot, or avoiding you and others—then talk to their teacher. Bullying is a real problem and it is everyone’s business.
Bullying is a serious issue that can have a major impact on your child and their self-esteem and overall emotional health. The more we talk about bullying, the more knowledgeable we will be–and the better equipped we will be to help and protect our children. Learn all you can. This webpage is is a good place to start: Bullying Children with Disabilities. You can find a related video here. Also, search our blog articles on bullying for more information.