28% of U.S. students in grades 6-12 experience bullying. Listening to your child is an important step in addressing and possibly preventing bullying. Listen with empathy and give your child your undivided attention. Offer reassurance, acknowledge the situation, and assure them you are taking them seriously. Ask your child how they see you helping the situation. This gives them some control over something they feel they have no control over.
Try saying something like this:
“I cannot imagine how difficult it is to worry about what they might say or do next. I have an idea about how I will take action, but I’d like to hear from you about what you would like for me to do”.
By taking this approach you are modeling how to stand up for yourself in a proactive and confident way. Dealing with a bully is a delicate and difficult situation for your daughter or son. Simply listening to them is a great way to begin to empower them to address the problem.
Although 25% of teens report being bullied, there are more that will not disclose out of fear or shame. Younger children do not always recognize this dominating behavior as bullying and may not report it as such. If your child tells you they are being bullied, start by letting them know you are glad they came to you. Then assure them that you take it seriously. You can start by actively listening to their concerns. Ask lots of questions, but without judgment. It is important to make them feel safe talking to you. Finally, offer reassurance that you have heard their concerns and that you take it seriously.
NSP™ Tip: Actively listen, take them seriously, ask lots of questions and offer reassurance.
If you need assistance, we are here to help with this and other parenting challenges. Call 513.231.6630 to learn more.