Parenthood is stressful enough without having to worry about your child being bullied. The negative psychological effects that bullying can have on a child are long-lasting – especially when child development is concerned. Children that have been bullied often show signs of low-self-esteem, poorer academic performance and a greater overall struggle to succeed.
With the introduction of the internet, a new form of bullying has arisen. Cyber bullying has meant that parents need to ensure they’re even more vigilant as bullying no longer just occurs on the playground.
It’s not all bad news. More4Momz has some tips for you to ensure that you protect your child’s development against the harmful effects of bullying. And the best part is it all starts at home, with you.
Here are five ways to bully proof your child:
1. Raise your child in a loving environment
The most effective way to keep your child from becoming a victim of bullying, or becoming a bully, is to ensure they are raised with a caring and compassionate relationship model – not one that relies on force or fear. Children raised in an environment where fear, or force are used, begin to believe it’s the most effective way to deal with interpersonal problems. If your discipline methods use power over your child, they learn to use power over others, or to let others use power over them. Invest in positive disciplinary methods, not negative ones.
2. Always be there for your child
It’s a known fact that lonely children are far more susceptible to bullying. With this in mind, ensure you always connect with your child. Build a strong, positive relationship with them. This will help them feel confident in themselves and create a line of communication between you and your child that is always open.
3. Teach your child self-assertion
It’s important that you give your child the means and confidence to assert themselves in situations. Children should know their needs can be met while still remaining respectful. Arm your child with courteous phrases they can use to stand up for themselves.
4. Teach your child that there is no shame in being frightened
A child places a great deal of importance on how their peers view them. They don’t want to be seen in a negative light by their friends and class mates. It’s important that your child knows there is no shame in being frightened by a bully. Teach them that they can walk away, tell an adult and ask for help. They need to know that bullying can escalate, and can result in serious injury – mentally and physically.
5. Intervene if necessary
At the end of the day, it’s your job as a parent to protect your child no matter the circumstances. If you suspect your child is being bullied, be sure to intervene. Call a teacher or the principal at school to discuss your suspicions. Never give your child the impression that they’re alone in handling the situation. Don't assume that just because there isn't physical violence, they aren’t being wounded on a deeper level.