Talking to your children about bullying

Bullying is something that we unfortunately know has been going on for as long as we can remember. There are literally stories from the 1800’s about bullies, and the general theme of picking on someone hasn’t really changed much.

What has changed however, is how it’s happening. Technology and ways of communicating has completely changed our entire world and way of living, 99% of the time, for the better. The downside? It’s opened up an opportunity for people to say and do things from behind a screen that they wouldn’t necessarily do in person.

As we grow older and have children, and watch them go out in the world, some of us have to endure seeing them affected by things that other people say and do. This can be one of the hardest things to watch, and often leaves us feeling a little helpless.

Here are a few tips from the NSPCC on how to handle the topic of bullying with your children.

Have the conversation. Talking solves so many issues. So many of us, both young and old hold things in, and the minute we have a conversation with someone we feel safe with and trust - it can feel like a whole weight has been lifted. Sometimes just listening to someone works wonders.

Teaching online safety tips. It’s important that we all make sure our children go into the world of technology and internet knowing how to keep themselves protected and safe. They need to know the signs to look out for when something’s not quite right, and be aware on how to avoid places on the internet that could potentially cause them issues.

Give them something positive to focus on and enjoy. If your child tells you they’re being bullied, one really good way to deal with this aside from the other stuff, is to try and take their mind off and give them a way to feel completely separated from it. It could be through sports or other activities, or days where they get to decide how the family spends it, just something that you know will lighten their mood.

Make sure they not they’re not alone. When we’re going through something, it can be very isolating, and feel like it’s us against the world. This is absolutely no different for children. It’s so important to make it known to them that there are people around who care for them, will stick up for them and be there for them regardless of what’s going on. Knowing you’re not alone in something can actually be half the battle fought in some cases. Childline is also an option if they would feel more comfortable talking to someone that they DON’T know.

Let them know who they can report bullying to. Of course they can always talk to their parents/guardian. But if there are other family members as well that they might rather speak to in this case, point them in that direction. If the bullying takes place in a school, make sure you know who the best person to speak to about that matter is, and once you know, make sure THEY know.

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