Is My Child Being Bullied?

By Leslie Moore

Is My Child Being Bullied?

School is supposed to be fun and educational, but for the victims of bullying this is simply not the case.This month, Sasee asked, Kathy Redwine, an independent licensed professional counselor (LPC )and certified play therapist, to suggest ways to help our children if we suspect they are being bullied.

Please give us a brief definition of bullying.

Bullying can be defined in several different ways, however, the common denominators include: aggressive, threatening and/or intimidating behaviors toward peers that is often repetitive in nature and unwanted by the victim.

What are the most common types of bullying?

Bullying can take place in a variety of environments: At school, on the bus, on the playground, or even in one’s own neighborhood. The bullying can range from verbal harassment or threats, to even physical assault. It’s important to remember that if a child perceives they are being bullied, that is their reality and in their mind they are the target of bullying. It is a difficult place to be as a child, both scary and uncertain. It’s important to support and meet your child at their reality, not minimize or dismiss the experience.What signs indicate to parents that their child may bebeing bullied?The biggest sign is avoidance of a particular place. If it’s happening at school, a parent will notice a child’s reluctance to go to school. Same is true for bus, playground and even playing in their neighborhood. It’s important to communicate with them and understand where the reluctance or fear is coming from.

What are the first steps we should take?

The most important first step is to talk to your child and listen to their concerns. Validate their feelings and offer to support and intervene anyway you can. Contact the school guidance counselor, let them know of your concerns and see if they have any suggestions to mitigate the situation. Oftentimes children fear telling an adult out of fear that the bullying will continue and/or get worse. This is the reason that a lot of bullying goes unaddressed.

What if we believe our child may BE the bully?What are the first steps?

Many bullies are the result of having been bullied. This is where it’s necessary and important to talk to your child about bullying, how it feels and how it can cause others to feel. Open the conversation with concern to understand, as opposed to blame or pointing fault.

How can we as parents help stop bullying, even if our child is not a victim?

Talk about what bullying is. Open the conversation with your child about the subject before anything happens so that your child feels safe and comfortable to talk to you about it. Model for your children what respect looks like, treating others with kindness, and talk about the importance of being kind and helping others rather than hurting them.

Contact Kathy at Riverside Pediatrics in Georgetownat 843-833-8595, or through Redwine Counselingat 704-743-4436.

About this writer

  • Leslie Moore Leslie Moore is the editor for Strand Media Group. A 25 year resident of Pawleys Island, she is blessed with a life filled with the love of family and friends and satisfying work to do every day.

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