Yesterday, I saw an episode of Home & Family on the Hallmark Channel and something struck with me. The topic was ‘Bullying’ – signs to watch for if your child is being bullied or your child is the bully.
Few months ago, my daughter was in a situation where her friend was starting to act like a bully. She isn’t even in elementary school yet, I thought. Her friend was getting a little aggressive with her and calling her names as well as repeatedly telling her ‘you are bad.’ Since my daughter hadn’t experienced anything like this before it really started to upset her. She would cry and start to acting up. The first couple of times it happened I just told my daughter that it’s ok, don’t worry, don’t cry etc. But, I did not let my vigilant eye rest. I continued to observe my daughter’s friend from that point on and sensed that it wasn’t just going to go away. I did try to talk to her mom but to no avail. Her mom just didn’t get the point. Then, it happened. One night, at a small gathering, my daughter became really upset with the aggressiveness and we had to sit her down that night and talk about it. My husband and I both made her realize that we do understand her feeling upset about this and it was an unacceptable kind of behavior. We also made her see that the more upset she got in front of her friend, the more she continued bullying her. Sometimes, some people feed off other’s misery. We advised her not to pay attention to her friend’s name calling and if that did not work, to simply remove herself from the situation (a.k.a walk away). We also added that if she continued to be strong and do what we told her to do, the bullying would stop. Her friend would not have her misery to feed off of and would eventually stop doing it.
And, what a miracle! I was so proud of my then 4-yr-old daughter to put our advise in to action. Her friend stopped teasing her and everyone came out a winner. Another point also came across: Treat others like you want to be treated. My daughter understood what this kind of behavior makes others feel and so we also addressed the topic of her not turning into a bully. Win – Win!
Besides watching someone in action, here are some warning signs to tell if your child is being bullied:
- being withdrawn
- not wanting to go to school
- showing eating disorders, or just skipping meals, coming home hungry from school (especially in girls)
- declining grades
- sleeping difficulties
Best way to overcome this problem, is BE INVOLVED! Observe them, talk with them (not at them), and show them how they can take control of the situation, of course, without getting abusive themselves.
Some warning signs to tell if your child is the bully:
- an angry or aggressive look on their faces while speaking
- having things (particularly expensive items) in his possession that you didn’t give him
- have unexplained money on him
- are increasingly aggressive
- have friends that are bullies
The biggest warning tip given by Mark Edgar Stephens, a Body Language Specialist and Clinical Hypnotherapist, on the show that struck with me was that look at yourself first. YES, see for signs of a bullying nature within you. Usually, children learn from us. Whether we are being aggressive or showing signs of anger and resentment, it all trickles down to the children adopting those traits and thinking it’s ok.
Tips for Parents on How to Talk with Their Kids
- Help your child understand bullying.
- Keep lines of communication open with your child by asking questions and reassuring them.
- Help your child build confidence by involving them in things they love to do. When they will play/do activities that they love with other kids that have similar interests they will build confidence and friendships too!
- Be a role-model. How you treat others will impact them. So, treat others with kindness and respect.
Home & Family show on Hallmark Channel: hallmarkchannel.com/homeandfamily
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