BangladeshPost placeholder

One of the hardest parts of being a parent or caregiver can be letting go. It can be both exciting and scary to see your kids grow up, make their own decisions and build friendships. And if a bully enters the picture, it’s difficult to know exactly what to do.
What are the signs of bullying?
It’s important for parents to keep in mind that there’s “nothing that’s an absolutely 100 percent tell” that a child is being bullied, said Elizabeth Englander, founder and director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State University. “One of the things that suggests a child might be in distress is if they are having problems sleeping or having problems eating, and those kinds of problems happen with lots of different issues,” she said.
Irene van der Zande, founder and executive director of Kidpower, a nonprofit focused on child safety, told HuffPost that kids who are being bullied often display a change in behavior. For example, they might be more fearful or aggressive.
“They might not say, ‘Someone is bullying me,’” Hertzog said. “They might use the word ‘drama,’ like, ‘There’s drama at school.’ There might be that eye roll or they might say, ‘Nobody likes me at school.’”
What about cyberbullying?
“Historically, before kids had a phone in their hand, [bullying] happened in places where adults weren’t; it was out of sight of adults,” Hertzog said. “Now it happens with a phone in their hand, sitting there right in the classroom, in an inappropriate text or a group chat … in places that we don’t, as adults, have access to. It follows that same premise that bullying happens outside of adults.”
So what can parents do?
Whether the teasing and disrespect occurs in the classroom, at a sports game, online or elsewhere, there are helpful actions parents can take to be proactive about bullying and address it head-on. Hertzog recommended that parents speak to teachers, since they often spend more time with their kids than anyone else during the week. Educators can fill caretakers in on any changing behaviors they might be seeing among students.
“It really became about social inclusion and friendship,” she said. “What started as trying to prevent bullying became a beautiful representation of what happens when you provide a structured program, structured content for kids.”
If parents get word that their child is having issues with bullying, it’s crucial, as van der Zande noted, that they manage their emotional and impulsive reactions, and instead learn how to help in the most effective way.
For a starting point, van der Zande suggested asking, “Is there anything that you’ve been wondering or worrying about that you haven’t told me?”
“And the first words out of your mouth are, ‘Thank you for telling me,’” she said. “Then you listen, and then you say, ‘Thank you. You’re doing a really good job of explaining this.’ You look for what the child did that was right. You don’t tell them what they did that was wrong.”
—Source: Huffpost