It can be alarming and upsetting to learn that your child has gotten in trouble for picking on their friends or has been labeled a bully.
As hard as it may be to process this information, it’s important to deal with it right away! Whether the bullying is verbal or physical, if it’s not stopped it can lead to more aggressive behavior, interfere with your child’s success in school, and his or her ability to form and maintain friendships! We see mishaps all the time at school, however getting on the right page with teachers and parents play a crucial role in encouraging them to change their ways!
Understanding Bullying Behavior
Children “bully” for many reasons. Some do it because they feel insecure and picking on someone else who seems emotionally or physically weaker provides a feeling of being more noticed, more in control, or even more popular. In other cases, kids bully because they simply don’t know that it’s unacceptable to pick on kiddos who are different! This is were parents and teachers must team up to lead by example and to also talk to their children about the rights and wrongs of how we treat others.
In some circumstances bullying is a part of an ongoing pattern of bold or rebellious behavior. These kids are likely to need help learning to handle anger and hurt, frustration, or other strong emotions. Our preschoolers may not have the skills they need to cooperate with others. Professional counseling often can help them learn to deal with their thoughts and feelings, control their bullying, and enhace their social skills.
Helping Kids Stop Bullying
Let your child know that bullying is unacceptable and that there will be serious consequences at home and at school if the behavior continues!
What we need to try and do is to understand the reasons behind our kid’s behavior. Kids may bully because they have difficulty managing heavy emotions like anger, frustration, or insecurity. Children need to learn cooperative ways to work out probelms and understand differences.
Tactics that I like to use as an office staff and that I try to convey to the teachers are:
- First and foremost, taking bullying seriously! Make sure your kids understand that you will not tolerate bullying at home or anywhere else for that matter. Establish rules about bullying and stick to them. If you punish your child by taking away privileges, be sure it’s meaningful! We love incorporating into the classroom the theme of teaching kids to treat others with kindness and respect. We are celebrating our differences in the classroom and conveying to them that it is wrong to ridicule differences such as our race, appearance, special needs, etc… We want to instill a sense of compassion and empathy for our friends who are different.
- Another thing to pay attention to is your kiddo’s social life at school or at social events outside of school. Look for clues that may be factors influencing your child’s behavior in the school enviroment or wherever the bullying may be occuring. Do other children bully? Talk to the teachers and fellow parents! What about your child’s friends? Finding out what kind of pressure your kids face at school is a good way to talk about those relationships and how to deal with them. Encouraging them in other activties outside of school can encourage them to meet and develop new friendships!
- Encouraging good behavior and positive reinforcement can be more effective than negative discipline. Catch your kiddos being good, when they handle situations well- take notice and priase them for it! Setting a good example and thinking carefully how you handle conflict around your little ones plays a major role. They will more than likely take your lead so be open to talk about your own frustrations and show them how you cope with your feelings.
Starting at Home
When wondering about what kind of influences are affecting your child’s behavior, look first at what’s happening at home. Kids who live with yelling, name – calling, or put downs from a sibling or parent may act that out in other settings. Any attention to a child is good attention. It’s very natural and common for siblings to fight with their brothers and sisters at home. But monitor the name calling and the hitting and be sure to talk to each child regulary and reminding them what is acceptable and what is not! Your repetitive talks will rub off on them! It’s just finding the energy to make sure to always address it when needed! If you’re not pleased with your child’s behavior, stress that it’s the behavior, not the child, that you’d to change. You, the parent, and their teachers need to stress the confidence that your child can do it!! The office staff and all the teachers are always here for our parents and students! By coming up to the front office we are always here to listen and brain storm strategies for posibble solutions so that we can ensure a safe enviroment for all of our wonderful children! I always try and make it my goal to be available as much as I can so that parents feel comfortable talking about any issues they might have and I know that Lisa and Taylor do the same as well!!
As hard and frustrating as it can be to help children stop bullying, remember that bad behavior won’t just stop on its own. Think about the progress and happiness you want your kids to find in school, outside activites, and relationships throughout life. Know that by curbing bullying now, it will have successful outcomes toward those goals.
For more information on how to handle bullying, you can check out this site.