Kids are going to bully or be bullied. It’s the sad reality of childhood. Both boys and girls are going to be subject to it, online, in-person and probably coming to VR soon. Maybe it’s getting worse than it used to be. But one thing is true: We are more aware that it’s happening and just how harmful it can be to kids.
While bullying is unfortunate, it’s something we as parents can expect and plan for. The key is not whether this bullying happens at school – it will – but how the school handles it.
And let’s not forget the kids. We’re trying to figure out how to help them – the bullies and the bullied alike. It can be incredibly difficult to watch your child go through it; it can also be incredibly productive to help the bully realize what is driving his or her actions.
We decided to take this topic to our trusty Dad Community to discuss how they have helped their own kids deal with it. Here’s what they had to say:
- Talk. Talk. Talk. Many girl dads reported that they were trusting but also verifying. In some instances, after numerous conversations, the “bullying” wasn’t actual bullying but two-sided fighting. In other instances, it was legitimate bullying and leads us to our next point.
- Say no. Give your kids permission to stand up for themselves and say, “no”. A lot of bullies back down when confronted by others. If that isn’t the case…
- Go to the teacher. We all know teachers have their hands full and we want to be respectful of their time. But it’s important to nip bullying in the bud—and to do so means going to the teacher. Discuss your school’s/classroom’s options to deal with the bullying. They might move the children’s seating, make sure they aren’t paired up for activities, etc. If that doesn’t work…
- It’s time for the principal. No one wants to go to the principal’s office but sometimes it’s necessary. A lot of schools nowadays have safety plans that you can create with the principal to ensure that kids are kept separate to ensure their well being. Don’t be afraid to advocate for your child.
- Relocate. If your school has multiple classes per grade you do have the option of moving your child to a different class. If you aren’t happy with the school’s response to the bullying, you can also look into moving schools.
- Last Resort. As a last option, dads mentioned signing children up for martial arts classes as a way to teach their kids self defense. While the ultimate goal would be to teach our kids to disengage and walk away, that isn’t always possible. Some bullying is physical, and dads thought it was a good idea for their children to be able to defend themselves.
We hope your child doesn’t have to deal with bullying, but if they do, we hope this article gives you a good place to start in helping them. For more articles like this, and all things Dad related, sign up for our newsletter, ‘The Dad’!