How can we deal with bullying in school?
My Child Is Being Bullied - 12 Strategies To Avoid Bullying At School
When their own child is bullied, parents are often at a loss.
You are wondering:
How can I help my child?
How does it get out of the "victim role" as quickly as possible?
Because they fear - and rightly so - that otherwise it could again and again become the target of meanness or abuse.
A strong self-confidence is the best protection against bullying. In this article, I'll tell you how you can optimally support your child to become strong and self-confident inside.
In addition, I will briefly explain to you when people talk about bullying at all and which signs indicate that your child could be bullied.
Then I will give you 12 strategies with which you can get your child out of their victim role and ensure that they will be left alone in the future ...
When do we actually speak of bullying?
Bullying doesn't just happen in the workplace these days. The problem occurs more and more often in elementary school.
Now all the children argue or annoy each other a little bit. That is quite normal and also important. This is the only way to learn how to deal with conflicts and how to resolve them.
But when does it all become a problem? When do we speak of bullying?
Bullying is the term used to describe systematic and targeted attacks on a (mostly) single child over a longer period of time.
The victim of bullying is physically, mentally or verbally attacked by one or more bullying parties.
Affected children will often:
- teased, ridiculed or ridiculed
- insulted and insulted
- ignored or marginalized
- threatened, blackmailed or intimidated
- physically attacked
- locked in or out (so that they come to class late, for example)
- things are taken away from them or destroyed
- Lies are told or rumors spread about them
No matter what actions the perpetrators use - the victim of these bullying attacks suffers and usually does not know how to defend themselves against them. The bullies take advantage of this and the situation is getting worse from day to day ...
How do I know if my child is being bullied?
Children who are bullied often do not dare to speak openly about it. They are afraid of "sniffing" and then suffering even more.
Therefore, pay attention to the following signs. They could indicate that your child has been a victim of bullying:
Signs that your child is being bullied
- Your child suddenly no longer wants to go to school or kindergarten, even though they were happy to go there beforehand and no other reasons are possible (e.g. a change of teacher)
- your child often complains of "mental" illnesses such as headache or stomach ache
- your child is increasingly suffering from loss of appetite
- your child often has trouble sleeping
- academic performance suddenly drops sharply
- your child is getting more and more fearful and shy
- your child often looks down and depressed
- Your child is very unbalanced and nervous or gets angry / aggressive quickly (if your child is in the defiant phase, tantrums can be an expression of this, more on this here)
- your child withdraws more and more and has hardly any contact with their peers
- your child often has missing / broken things or even physical injuries
all of this can Be evidence of bullying and therefore you should watch them carefully and question them.
Do not hesitate to talk to your child first if you suspect something. If your fears are confirmed or your child does not want to talk about them, contact their teachers or educators immediately.
The faster bullying is recognized, the faster and better you can help your child.
In the following section I want to give you a number of strategies and tips with which you can support your child when they are suffering from bullying:
12 strategies to empower your child against bullying
If your child has become a victim of bullying, you should inform the kindergarten or school immediately. Please do not contact the "perpetrator" or their parents directly - that would make the situation even worse for your child.
In joint discussions with the respective facility, concrete measures should then be implemented in a timely manner in order to end the bullying against your child as quickly as possible.
If you have the feeling that nothing is being done to protect your child, do not hesitate to contact school psychologists, the education authority or other higher-level authorities.
But beyond that, it is extremely important to empower the child himself.
This is how you raise strong children
- 12 exercises to strengthen your child
- Lay the foundations for a successful life
- Make your child strong and independent
Only when it finds its own inner strength is it not dependent on the help and protection of teachers or educators for the rest of its life. Experience has shown that bullying situations repeat themselves again and again if the child remains in his "victim role".
The best protection against bullying is a strong self-confidence!
Self-confident children automatically have a completely different charisma. With their demeanor, demeanor and behavior, they signal to others "Not with me!"
But how does a child get this charisma? Especially if they are already bullying?
With the following tips you can help your child to become strong inside and gradually build up his or her self-confidence:
1. Adopt a strong posture
Inner strength can already be seen in the posture.
A fearful and shy child appears very different to a child that does not simply put up with everything.
With a upright and confident posture So your child automatically appears much more self-confident towards others. But the whole thing has another effect:
Our feelings have a direct influence on our attitude. For example, in a downcast mood, we let our heads and shoulders hang.
But the whole thing also works the other way around!
As soon as your child adopts a strong posture, their feelings automatically change too! If they adopt an upright, proud, and open posture, they will feel much stronger and more confident after a few minutes.
How to teach your child correct posture:
Let your child play "superhero" or "princess" as often as possible! Children automatically know which posture to adopt: upright, chest out, head up! Fortunately, children have vivid imaginations: the crown is worn with pride or the superhero cape blows in the wind ...
Every time your child plays this role, it builds their confidence. Over time, it unconsciously takes over the upright posture into everyday life.
If your child plays "superhero" or "princess", it instinctively takes on a self-confident one
Attitude a. It automatically strengthens its self-esteem.
2. Use role play properly
Children love role play. You are a cowboy, magic fairy, doctor or astronaut.
Have you ever noticed that children often play strong and heroic roles?
You can use this very well to let your child practice behavior in various bullying attacks in a playful way.
The following trick works especially with smaller children:
You play through a typical bullying situation with your child and ask them how "Captain Cool" or "Superwoman" would behave now. It goes without saying that superheroes are not allowed to hurt anyone or offend anyone! Be amazed at the creative ideas your child will come up with.
The older the child is, the more specifically you can play through such situations with them, of course, even without the use of superheroes. The same applies here: striking back with the same means is forbidden. An older child will understand that doing so will only make matters worse. Rather think of surprising, creative and maybe a few funny reactions together.
Even if your child does not use the behavior from the role play directly in everyday life, the practice gradually loses the fear of such situations. It learns that it is not helpless in the face of bullies.
Role play strengthens your child's creativity and responsiveness.
They feel less helpless and exposed in bullying situations.
3. The power of mental images
You surely know the saying: Success begins in the head.
What we cannot imagine in our minds, we cannot achieve either.
Unfortunately, bullying leads to your child seeing themselves more and more as a failure and a victim.
He wakes up in the morning, thinks about school and immediately the familiar scenarios run through in his head: how he is teased, annoyed, pushed or laughed at. These mental images ensure that the child arrives at school unsafe and anxious, even if nothing has happened that day.
In order for your child to appear more self-confident and convey inner strength just through their charisma, they would have to see themselves in exactly THIS way.
But how do you get a child to change their mental images?
The solution are mental stories! Due to their special narrative style, these have a direct influence on your child's imagination. They change the images in his head or create positive mental images.
And the best part is that all your child has to do is listen to the stories regularly!
The mental stories are also ideal if your child is crying and desperate buried in his room and doesn't want to talk about what happened ...
If you can't get to your child verbally, you can at least strengthen them with the help of the stories!
Small side effect:
Mental stories not only make you more self-confident - they also ensure relaxation. And relaxed children automatically appear much "cooler" than nervous and stressed children. In a relaxed state, it is much easier to ignore minor annoyances.
Mental training strengthens your child's self-confidence by changing the "images in the head". At the same time, our mental stories ensure maximum relaxation.
Get the right stories for your child here: Strong kids mental stories
4. A sense of achievement makes you strong
Children who are bullied often consider themselves failures. The longer they are "finished off" by others, the more this feeling solidifies.
To counteract this, your child needs a sense of achievement. And it gets that when it can gather as much experience as possible.
It doesn't have to win competitions or learn how to juggle.
It is not the size of the success that is decisive, but above all else conscious perception!
So let your child try out as much as possible and do it on their own. If it makes a mistake, avoid any blame. Rather, encourage it to try again.
Once it has done something, tell it it can now be proud of itself! Ask them how they feel now and how they rate their own performance. In this way, you will consciously draw your child's attention to their success stories. Soon it will no longer consider itself a "loser".
Successful experiences strengthen your child's self-esteem. It will no longer feel like a "failure" when it is consciously aware of what it can do.
5. Don't fall into the praise trap
Please don't start praising your child for every little thing now.
I know that the temptation is great - especially if your child no longer has any self-confidence due to the bullying. You mean well and want to strengthen your child ...
But with constant praise you achieve the opposite: Your child becomes dependent on praise and recognition. At some point, it only measures its self-worth by the feedback it receives from others. If it then meets bullies again, they destroy his self-esteem within seconds!
So consciously get used to the phrase: "Now you can really be proud of yourself!"
The goal is for your child to recognize for themselves when they have done something well. If it knows its strengths and its "worth", it does not take verbal attacks so easily to heart.
Too much praise makes your child dependent on approval and more vulnerable to verbal attacks. Instead, teach your child to be proud of themselves.
6. Set and defend your own limits
The main problem with bullied children is that they put up with too much or don't know how to properly defend their limits.
Pay attention to whether your child has the opportunity to set boundaries at home and whether these are also respected. For example, siblings often cross borders. But even among their peers, children are often expected to share their toys, nursery, sweets and so on - whether they like it or not.
For children who suffer from bullying, it is particularly important that they are allowed to set limits and defend them at home. In this way, they learn that they don't have to put up with everything and can do this more easily in school.
Now of course your child shouldn't become an egoist who always wants everything to himself. It is best if you discuss recurring situations with your child beforehand. Ask your child where they see their limits and then help them that they are also respected.
For example, your children could determine which of their toys can also be used by the sibling and which are absolutely taboo. Perhaps you label things with stickers that even smaller children can understand.
From now on every child can consistently defend their taboo things, if necessary with your support. All other things are shared fairly.
Let your child set clear boundaries at home and help them that these are also respected.
In this way it learns that it does not always have to put up with everything.
7. Why annoying discussions are important
Very often, when a child is bullied, they withdraw in silence. In the case of verbal attacks in particular, it would be important for the child to know how to defend themselves with words.
In order to strengthen your child's communication skills, you should talk to them a lot. And that includes arguments and discussions, which admittedly often get on your nerves as a parent.
You may be stressed yourself, have to go to work quickly or have your head full of to-do's that you mustn't forget ... It is then difficult to first discuss with the child why the summer dress with sandals when the temperature outside is 10 degrees is rather impractical. Then the sentence "Now stop discussing, we have to go."
Your child perceives the abrupt end of the discussion as if you were saying: "Be calm, your opinion doesn't count anyway."
In the worst case, mom or dad will get really angry when the child raises further objections ...
Such situations are of course completely normal and always occur. However, if your child is treated like this all the time, they will gradually lose confidence in their own opinion. Then they will prefer to keep their mouths shut at school instead of defending themselves. It has learned that the only way to get in more trouble if it gives its opinion.
Such children usually keep it to themselves for a very long time when they are bullied.
So if you want to strengthen your child in their communication, then get involved in discussions with them. So that these don't last endlessly, you are welcome to set a time limit. Tell your child, "Okay, let's talk about it, but if we haven't found a solution in 10 minutes, we have to go."
By the way, over time you will find that your child protests a lot less and the discussions become less. When it realizes that its opinion is being taken seriously, it no longer rebels over every little thing!
You can find out how peaceful and empowering communication can succeed in everyday family life in the new StarkeKids guide.
Discussions are annoying, but they strengthen your child's communication skills.
He learns that his opinion is important and then dares to speak it.
8. The problem of the good angels
Very often, of all people, the particularly dear and good children suffer from bullying.
The reason is obvious:
The more "obedience" is required of the parents, the less the child dares to enforce his own will. It subordinates itself and always does what you tell it to do.
Especially when your child is defiant, it is important to take your child's feelings and needs seriously. Because there you lay the foundation for your own limits and your child's own will. If you force your child into unconditional obedience through threats, admonitions, etc., it will lose its inner gut feeling.
Unfortunately, it often shows obedient, good behavior in kindergarten or school and thus becomes the perfect victim of bullying. Instead of fighting back or looking for help, you can just put up with anything. Subconsciously, it hopes that this will quickly leave it alone again. However, that rarely works there ...
So if you have such an "angel" and have always placed great value on "obedience", you might be able to see it a little more loosely in the future. Just think about whether you can give your child a little more freedom in one place or another.
Of course, that doesn't mean that it can do what it wants from now on. But the feeling of being able to prevail against the parents from time to time builds self-confidence and strengthens the "immune system".
Unfortunately, very good and obedient children often become victims of bullying.
Every now and then, give your child a little freedom to strengthen their self-confidence.
9. Don't blame anyone
In any case, avoid making your child feel that it is their own fault for their bullying situation!
Most bullied children already feel guilty.
Even if the assignment of blame is not directly pronounced, sentences like "Why do you always put up with everything?" exactly this message. You're not helping your child at all.
If your child could fight back, it would! If they knew how to behave properly in the case of bullying, they would not be a victim of bullying. It doesn't put itself in this position on purpose! It feels helpless and needs your support and understanding.
Just as unnecessary are the pointing of blame against the bullies. Sure you're mad at these kids inside. However, it doesn't help anyone if you upset yourself for hours about their bad behavior. By doing this, you only create a lot of bad feelings in yourself and your child.
Use your energy in a positive way and invest it in strengthening your child.
Never make your child feel that it is their own fault if they are bullied!
What is most urgently needed now is understanding and support.
From an adult perspective, you may sometimes see your child's problems as "out of the question".
However, it will feel very different to your child. Therefore, you should always take his worries and fears seriously and not play them down under any circumstances.
Here is a small example:
Your daughter tells you that Max keeps taking her pencil case and hiding it somewhere. Your daughter has already been counted by the teacher for this reason, but she did not dare to "tell" Max.
Maybe you now say something like "Max doesn't mean that angry, he just wants to annoy you a little." You may even be quietly thinking of the saying "What teases itself loves itself" and you have to smile. Basically, you just want to reassure your daughter and make it clear that she shouldn't get upset about it ...
But your daughter doesn't feel that she is being taken seriously at all. She feels anger, helplessness or even despair and now has to cope with it on her own. She tries to suppress her negative feelings and stops talking about them. But:
Repressed feelings make you depressed and sick.
It would be much better if you encourage them to talk about their feelings and take them really seriously.
Always take your child's feelings seriously and talk to them about them.This teaches your child that their feelings are important and that they have a right to have them respected.
11. Community makes you strong
Bullies usually choose individual children as victims. Children who have few friends and therefore little support.
Basically, it doesn't matter at all if your child only has one or two friends. Often these friendships are then much stronger and provide more support than a large - but rather superficial - clique.
However, it becomes difficult when a child is all alone. This can happen quickly, for example when changing schools or moving house ... If your child is rather shy and does not manage to make new friends, he or she will quickly become an outsider.
Therefore, you should always give your child the opportunity to practice "socializing". All activities in which your child comes into contact with unfamiliar children are suitable for this purpose, for example:
- Play or handicraft afternoons from local clubs
- Trial lessons at various sports clubs
- various children's parties
- Leisure facilities such as (indoor) playgrounds, inflatables, etc.
- Children's entertainment or kids clubs in the holiday hotel
If your child is very shy and feels extremely uncomfortable between many children, give him the opportunity to get to know individual children in familiar surroundings. Invite friends, acquaintances or colleagues who are bringing their child with them and encourage both to play together. After a short warm-up phase, this works very well in most cases.
You can find many tips here to strengthen particularly anxious and shy children: Strengthening anxious children - 14 tips against fear and shyness
Friends give your child support and are a good protection against bullying,
because bullies usually choose loners and outsiders as victims.
12. Realign the focus
Bullying is extremely stressful for a child. The longer the situation lasts, the more anxious and unhappy it becomes.
This then affects all areas of life. Your child also takes the psychological consequences of bullying home and in their free time. It is not for nothing that bullied children often suffer from insomnia: The oppressive thoughts simply do not leave them calm.
The biggest problem with this is that, over time, your child will only focus on everything negative.
This is a completely normal process because our self-esteem influences our perception. Perhaps you know that when on some days you somehow don't feel comfortable in your skin ... Then you quickly refer to the whispers of your colleagues or interpret the bad mood of your boss or your partner as a sign that you have done something wrong Has.
It is the same with your child when they are bullied. It only sees "enemies" around it and has the feeling of being laughed at, attacked or marginalized by everyone.
Here's how you can help your child focus back on the positive things in life:
After school, don't be the first to ask them if they've been pissed off again or if something else bad has happened.
Ask it what was beautiful. Who was nice to him. Maybe someone helped him. Whether there was something delicious for lunch or how the new fountain pen writes.
Don't give up if your child doesn't respond to it at first. Little by little, your questions will ensure that your child unconsciously pays more and more attention to the beautiful experiences during the course of the day!
Of course, you shouldn't sweep the negative events under the rug! It is important that your child can talk about anything that has happened. Listen to him and take it seriously (see also point 10). Afterwards, you should still try to redirect your child's thoughts to something positive ...
Over time, bullied children only become aware of the negative experiences and think that EVERYONE is against them. Direct your child's focus on positive experiences.
Special: bullying in kindergarten
Many parents are concerned about whether bullying can also occur in kindergarten.
After all, especially with the very little ones, there are often arguments and tears ... But can we speak of bullying here? Do parents have to be vigilant already in this phase and, if necessary, take measures to protect their child?
The fact is this:
In kindergarten, bullying is mostly only rudimentary. The children have to develop, try out and "practice" their social behavior on each other. That is why there are many conflicts, especially in kindergarten.
However, kindergarten children do not yet consciously proceed systematically. Conflicts are part of natural development and therefore disputes and meanness are usually quickly forgotten.
Who does not know that: There was just a lot of shouting and words like "You are no longer my friend!" Just 10 minutes later, the children are playing together again in harmony.
Nevertheless, parents should always be careful. Kindergarten children are also already showing approaches and tendencies towards dominant or fearful behavior. And the earlier you make your child internally strong and self-confident, the better you protect them from becoming a real victim of bullying later in school!
You can never have too much healthy self-confidence!
You can use many of the strategies mentioned here to strengthen your child's self-confidence as early as kindergarten age. You can also get more tips from our other blog articles:
Since kindergarten children in particular react more emotionally than logically, some strategies cannot yet be applied correctly with them. Some of them still lack understanding, for example for role-playing games.
Here our mental stories are the perfect solution!
In a child-friendly and playful way, they build your child's self-confidence - just by listening.
As a bedtime story, they also drive away negative thoughts and ensure a relaxed sleep.
Confidently against bullying
These were my top tips against bullying.
All of the strategies mentioned here have one common goal: to strengthen your child's self-confidence and self-esteem.
Because only when he feels strong and self-confident inside can he show this strength to the outside world. The best self-defense or prevention course is useless if your child remains anxious and insecure inside.
Therefore, everything that strengthens your child internally is also the best protection against bullying.
You can find many additional tips on this in detail in the new StarkeKids guide.
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