Bullying has always been an issue at School, but the behaviors we see as violent today may not have been considered such in the past. Over the years, several events and studies have made clear the significant impact of bullying and expanded its definition. It may be a tough subject, but a Dad’s role in discussing and listening to his kids’ concerns about bullying is more important than ever.
A bully can turn everyday activities such as riding the bus or going to School into a nightmare for their victim. Bullying at School often involves threats, physical violence, or property damage. As a Dad, if you hear that your child is getting bullied, you want to do everything in your power to stop it.
What is Bullying?
We know all kids get teased at some point in life. A little teasing is typically harmless if it is mutually playful. But when does teasing become bullying? When teasing becomes negative, aggressive, and constant, it has turned into bullying and intimidation, and we need to help stop it.
Signs of Bullying
Many times your child will not tell you when they are getting bullied, but there are signs you can look for:
- Anxiety, your child seems unusually anxious or nervous
- Poor appetite, your child is not eating, is possibly losing weight
- Not sleeping, your child is restless, having nightmares, or changes in sleeping pattern
- Behavioral changes, your child stops doing things they enjoy or starts avoiding everyday activities
- Unexplained Injuries, your child has injuries they cannot explain
If you notice any of these signs, it could mean your son or daughter is getting bullied or beaten up in School. If you suspect your child is getting bullied at School, but they are reluctant to say anything, you might try to find opportunities to address the issue indirectly. Using this technique could open a line of communication to discuss bullying in School with your child.
It is essential to let your kids know that if they are being bullied or witness other kids getting bullied at school or any other place, they need to get help from an adult.
Types of Bullying
Types of bullying can include:
- Physical, hitting, shoving, beating up, or otherwise injuring
- Verbal, threats or mocking
- Psychological, spreading rumors, taunting, or publicly shunning kids at School or via social media
As Dads, we need to take bullying seriously and stop chalking it up to kids being kids and needing to “toughen up.” History and studies have shown that bullying has detrimental life long effects on children. Bullying in school has been found to have contributed to School shootings and many child suicides.
Reasons Kids Bully
Some of the reasons kids bully include:
- Victimization, they want a victim, someone who appears different or who they deem in some way “weaker.”
- Learned Behavior, they come from families who bully
- They have been victimized and bullied themselves
How Can You Help Your Kids?
When you hear your kid is getting bullied or beaten up in School, you want to make it stop immediately. There are things you can do to help your child cope with bullying and lessen its long term effects:
- Listen calmly, if your child comes to you about bullying remain calm and offer support.
- Be receptive and reassuring, kids often feel embarrassed about being bullied and worry parents will be disappointed or angry
- Positive encouragement, let your child know that they are doing the right thing by telling you and emphasize that the bully is in the wrong
- Inform the school, your child’s school needs to be aware of the issue so they can monitor the situation and take action if necessary
What Do I Tell My Kids?
You are angry that your child is hurting. You were probably told to fight back as a boy, and that is what you want to say to your kids. But, it is important not to encourage fighting or bullying back. You can help your kids deal with bullying if it happens.
Some helpful tips to share with your kids:
- Stay Calm, responding negatively to a bully only encourages them to continue bullying
- Avoidance, instruct your child to avoid areas they typically encounter the bully
- Buddy Up, it is harder for a bully to harass someone if they are not alone
- The Report, report the bullying to School staff so they can address the issue at School
- Talk, it may be helpful for your child to talk or vent to someone they can trust and feel comfortable with
Restore Your Child’s Confidence
Being bullied in School can majorly damage your child’s confidence. Encourage your child to engage with friends, family, and teachers who have a positive influence in their life. Encourage your child to participate in activities they enjoy that build strength and friendships.
Make sure your child knows you are always available to listen to any joys or life problems they may be experiencing and that you are equally interested in both.
Above all, make sure your child knows that their father believes in them and that you will do whatever you can to help if they are getting bullied in School.
Fatherhood is a team sport. Fathers Eve helps Dads connect for encouragement, support, and camaraderie. We have events all over the Country, and there is something for every Dad to enjoy.