The teen years are a time when bullying behaviors tend to increase. While it is upsetting to think that your child may be bullied, it is reassuring to know that adults play a vital role in keeping kids safe from negative peer influences. Help prevent teen bullying by adding these anti-bullying strategies to your parenting plan so that you can do your part to help every child grow up in a safer environment.
1. Keep Communication Open
A child who is bullied often feels embarrassed about what is happening. Alternatively, they may even feel guilty or believe that the bullying is somehow their fault. While you know that no child deserves to be bullied, it is important to let your child know that they can come to you no matter what. Bring up the topic of teen bullying occasionally so that they know that this is an open topic that you are willing to address with an understanding attitude in your home.
2. Know the Signs of Teen Bullying
Parents must always be alert for changes in their child’s behavior that signify that something is wrong. Watch for sudden changes in your child’s peer group or a sudden desire to spend large amounts of time alone. A child who is being bullied may also demonstrate signs of substance abuse or start skipping school. When you notice upsetting changes in your child’s behavior, counseling sessions may help uncover bullying as the underlying cause.
3. Help Kids Identify Trusted Adults
Always make it clear that your kids and their friends can come to you with any problem. Then, make sure that they also know of other adults that they can turn to in a crisis. Help your child make a list of trusted adults at school and in their neighborhood to whom they can reach out if they witness bullying. Teachers, counselors and close relatives are all potential options for finding help.
4. Practice Standing Up to Bullies
A child who is being physically harmed must always prioritize getting to safety. However, kids can sometimes intervene by telling a bully to stop or separating a victim from the group. Give your child suggestions on what they can do during a bullying incident to stop the behavior.
5. Encourage Showing Kindness
It is important to cultivate compassion and empathy in teenagers. Encourage your child to practice random acts of kindness and get involved in their community. Learning to serve others helps prevent teens from falling into the tap of making someone else feel bad so that they can feel better.
6. Foster Healthy Interests
Kids who are busy tend to be less likely to engage in teen bullying. Provide your child with opportunities to cultivate new interests such as sports, drama and writing. Finding a creative outlet also helps teens to find an appropriate solution for releasing pent up emotions.
7. Stay On Top of Online Activities
Teen bullying often happens online where parents may not notice the signs until it has reached severe levels. Always monitor what your child does online, and discuss the appropriate use of social media accounts. Then, remind your child to come to you if they witness or are the victim of cyberbullying.
8. Promote Self-Confidence
Kids who are confident are more likely to be resilient if they do experience a negative taunt from a bully. Additionally, confident teens are less likely to bully others because they want everyone to feel good. Praise your child’s talents regularly, and give them opportunities to feel successful such as mastering a goal.
In a society where teen bullying has reached epic levels, every parent must do their part to stop negative influences from harming teens. From establishing open lines of communication to being prepared to jump in at the sign of a problem, being proactive is the only way to ensure that every teen grows up knowing that they are a valued member of their community.