Tactics for Tackling Bullying
As a parent or carer, one of the hardest things we confront is our child being bullied, especially when they are already dealing with developmental delays or sensory processing difficulties.
First things first...what is bullying?
Bullying can mean many different things to different people and it can happen at school or at home or even online via social networks and games. Every child's experience of being bullied is unique and can include;
- Being called names or teased
- Being hit, kicked or physically hurt
- Being threatened or intimidated
- Being ignored and left out
- Having rumours spread about you
- Being put down or humiliated
- Being pushed or pulled about
- Having money and other possessions taken or messed about with
What Are the Signs of Bullying?
Unless your child tells you they are being bullied or shows visible signs like bruises or scratches it can be difficult to know what they are going through.
But there are some warning signs, for example you might notice your child is:
- acting differently or seeming anxious
- not eating, not sleeping well, or not doing the things they usually enjoy
- seem moodier or more easily upset than usual
- avoiding certain situations (like taking the bus to school)
How can we help our kids deal with bullies?
It is important to take our kid's experiences of being bullied seriously, listening to them and showing you care.This can include talking to your child's teacher, working with the school and supporting your child at home by developing strategies to handle bullying. Check out these tips for kids on how to tackle bullying in a healthy, constructive way.
Ignore the bully
- Pretending you didn’t hear what they said and walk away
- Avoid making eye contact
- Maintain positive body posture (calm, confident)
- Think positive self-esteem statements
- Count to five in your head slowly
- Take deep breaths.
Confront the bully in a friendly way
Standing up to people who are bullying in a calm way lets them know that what they’re trying to do isn’t working. Kids should do this;
- With a calm, assertive voice
- Maintain eye contact.
- Confident body language.
- Using ‘I’ statements: I feel... when you... because...
Walk away from the situation
- Stand tall, head up high and mouth closed
- Look confident
- Do not use eye contact
- Walk towards a congested area or to a safety zone (teacher)
- Do not look back and walk confidently, don’t run
Report the bully
- Find a bully buddy: People are less likely to bully if they can see that you have friend for backup
- Walk away and ask a staff member or adult for support in a safe place
- Avoid trying to get the other person in trouble