Remember that it takes a great deal of courage for your child to admit to you that he is being bullied – he may be worried that you will think he is making a big fuss about nothing. This aggressive behaviour can take many different forms, including verbal threats, racial harassment, teasing about his clothes or appearance, or social exclusion.
1 / 10 Take complaints of bullying seriouslyLoad more
2 / 10 Avoid asking him to fight backLoad more
Physical retaliation rarely has any positive impact on the bully – and often, it completely backfires on the victim. You can never be sure of the bully’s physical potential. There is no guarantee that a momentary overpowering of the aggressor will stop his tormenting – he could return with a large, powerful group of his friends.
3 / 10 Look for tell-tale signsLoad more
Your child may not tell you he is being bullied, so look for the signs such as regular loss of pocket money, unexplained bruising on his arms and legs, damage to his school bag, or reluctance to attend school without a sensible explanation. If you suspect he is being bullied, chat with him about this.
4 / 10 Persuade him to walk away discretely whenever the bully appears to be moving in his directionLoad more
The adage, “He who walks away lives to fight another day”, is true. Too often this type of avoidance strategy is mistakenly construed by the victim as an act of cowardice when, in fact, it is sensible. He should move away slowly, without running.
5 / 10 Show minimal responseLoad more
Encourage your child to react as little as possible to the bully’s threats. It’s a cliche, but the truth is that teasing and bullying often stop eventually when the victim displays indifference to the actions against him. Ignoring verbal and physical threats is difficult, but it can be done successfully. Practise this with your child at home.
6 / 10 Stick with friendsLoad more
Tell Junior to spend as much time as possible in the company of other children. This especially applies to free-play situations either in the school playground or outdoors after school. Bullies pick on children who seem solitary and isolated. Therefore, a child standing alone in the school playground is a potential target.
7 / 10 Keep moving in the playgroundLoad more
This is a very practical strategy. Victims tend to remain static in the playground during school breaks. Reduced self-confidence glues them to one spot. Far better for your sixyear- old to be on the move, even if he is on his own, than to be seen standing still in the school playground as an easy target.
8 / 10 Show positive body languageLoad more
Your child probably looks afraid, because he anticipates the bully will attack again. Teach him more positive body language so that he looks assertive and confident. For instance, he should walk with his shoulders held back, his back upright, his eyes looking directly in front of him, and with a relaxed facial expression or a smile.
9 / 10 Be there for himLoad more
You can also help your little one deal with bullying by playing your part. He doesn’t have to cope with this on his own. If you think that bullying occurs in school, talk to his teachers, but do insist that they act discreetly without mentioning his name. They should respond positively to your concern.
10 / 10 Supervise his social media habitsLoad more
Cyber-bullying is increasingly common in this age group, as more and more young kids have access to smartphones. If your kid is involved with social media, check the messages he sends and receives. Be especially alert if he appears to have a sudden surge of incoming texts, and looks unhappy whenever his phone pings.