Is your child part of the one in four teens being bullied at school?
Ok, so with primary school done, you were hopeful that it would be plain sailing from here…Apparently not! Your child is devastated, ducks and dives school as basic schoolyard disputes have become more intense and cyberbullying more merciless.
Yes, in spite of all the debate and awareness around the issue, a survey conducted by digital research company Pondering Panda, revealed that 57% of High School students reported that they had been bullied. Considering that we have 2, 2 million school-going children in South Africa, those percentages translate into a truly staggering number of youngsters!
High school is a time when the demands of the curriculum go up a notch and social awareness of each other increases. Also, bodies change at different rates, and differences and similarities become more obvious. The so called “fitting in” part is not that easy.
The reality is that bullying has always existed and with the arrival of the digital age can affect teens 24/7. Emotional, verbal or cyberbullying can lead to depression (and even suicide), drug use and stunted social development. This could very well affect your child into adulthood.
So, how do we as parents help our kids to negotiate one of the most frightening aspects of school life? Psychologists agree that one of the best ways to protect your teen against bullying is to give him the tools to deal effectively with bullies.
Here are a few tips to share with your Teen:
- Buddy up. Bullies are reluctant to go after someone who has backup. There is strength in numbers!
- Ignore bullies. A lot of what bullies do is for reaction. Ignore their efforts, soon they will find someone else. Whether it’s bullying online or in person, ignore, ignore, ignore.
- Do your part. Ask him why they’re bullying you. Ask them what the problem is and ask them to stop. Bullies are rarely asked to face the reality that they are bullies, so make them face it.
- Control your feelings. Never show fear. Bullies look for reactions; soon they will get bored and move on.
- Keep calm and carry on. Ignore hurtful remarks, tell them to stop, and walk away. Demonstrate that they have no control over you. A person who isn’t easily ruffled has a better chance of staying off a bully’s radar.
- Boost your confidence. Exercise will get those feel good endorphins going as well as reduce stress levels. Take a kick boxing class to get rid of the anger.
- Stay true to yourself. Celebrate your unique qualities, reflect on them daily. The more empowered you are the more you can help yourself.
- Report the bullying. Bullies can’t bully for long if they are being caught. This starts with an authority figure. If it happens at school, talk to a teacher, counselor or the principal.
So Mom and Dad, pain is a tough place to recover from. Part of parenting is to make sure that your home is a place where your kids can unburden their hearts.
Remember, it takes a tribe to raise a child! If you feel that the situation is getting out of hand, or if you feel that your child is in any physical or psychological danger, it is time to intervene.
Source: www.bullyingstatistics.org, www.wikihow.com, kidshealth.org, www1.cbn.com, www.tutordoctor.com, www.smh.com.au, www.childmag.co.za, www.scielo.org.za, www.myaspergerchild.com, www.helpguide.org, www.nea.org, www.surfnetparents.com, www.huffingtonpost.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.