If your child is being bullied and you are wondering just how you can help, Loganholme Child Psychologist Leia Redman offers the following advice …
Bullying has existed at school for an incredibly long time; however we shouldn’t simply view it as “just a part of life”. Research has indicated that bullying contributes to the incidents of low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, suicide and violence. This makes it abundantly clear that we need to work together as a community to provide education and support on minimising bullying and increasing kindness and compassion amongst our children.
Bullying – not just at School
In the last decade, bullying has also increased outside of school hours due to the rise of the internet and social media. This ability to stay connected to the outside world 24/7 interferes with the child’s downtime from their peers and/or bullying.
Bullying comes in many forms, such as teasing, exclusion (eg “you can’t play with us”), physical aggression, and harassment.
How Parents Can Help their Child
It is helpful for parents to provide tools to their children so they know how to deal with bullies; and also to role model appropriate behaviour with regards to interpersonal relations. Areas to focus on include:
- Role model empathy, resilience, friendliness, respect etc;
- Providing a stable home environment;
- Demonstrating disapproval of bullying behaviour;
- Demonstrating assertiveness;
- Demonstrating healthy social and communication skills.
It is also helpful for you as a parent to:
- Stay connected with your child by touching base regularly;
- Set limits for the use of electronic devices (for example – time restrictions and use only in public areas of the house, ie dining table);
- Contact the school if the bullying persists;
- Contact the police if it is serious and the school are not able to respond sufficiently;
- Consider whether it is time to change schools.
If Bullying Persists …
If the bullying persists it can be beneficial to seek professional help in the form of a Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychologist. Sessions will have both an individual focus with just the child/teenager; and there will also be time set aside to help you as the parent with parenting strategies. Areas that will be addressed are:
- Learning to identify the signs of bullying from a parent and child perspective (for example – Am I being bullied? Am I a target? What are the physical, academic and social signs that my child is being bullied?);
- Helping your child explain their experiences;
- Learning how to change your child’s attitudes regarding bullying (eg teaching your child that it is okay to be different, bullying is never their fault, it is important to ask for help etc);
- Understanding feelings and thoughts and coping strategies;
- Learning how to communicate confidently (eg assertiveness training, confident body language, social skills etc);
- Building self-esteem.
If your child is experiencing bullying and you feel they are not coping despite your best effort, please make an appointment with me to discuss the above strategies in more depth and specific to yourself and your child.
Leia primarily focuses on clinical child and adolescent psychology although she can treat individuals and couples of all ages. She has training and experience in a variety of evidence based treatment approaches, but is particularly passionate about providing parent support, including the 123 Magic program for children aged 2-12 years.
To make an appointment with Clinical Psychologist Leia Redman try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.
- Field, E. M. (2007). Bully Blocking: Six Secrets to Help Children Deal with Teasing and Bullying. (Revised Edition). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.