Bullying: 5 Ways to Help Children Avoid and Overcome Bullies

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Bullying—Unfortunately, bullying doesn’t only affect children. But thank goodness, the issue is once again under the microscope.

I am reminded of one summer back in the 1980s in Dubai when we had the downpour of a lifetime in a place where rainy season is not marked on the calendar. In one single hour not only did the skies burst open, but a hail storm struck a ferocious blow over cars on the road. Expensive new cars piled up, covered with indentations. It seemed like automobiles had suffered a small pox epidemic. In many ways, being the victim of constant bullying creates a similar impact on the personalities of children, adolescents, and adults.

Frankly, I don’t know the best definition of a bully. I have the perception of a small kid who loves to play the “Shadow Game” and appear larger than life, having the sole objective to inject fear, steal sunshine and draw dark curtains of discomfort. The bully enjoys leaving you shameful and powerless.

5 Ways to Help Children Avoid Bullying

Children usually hide these incidents of embarrassment from parents and suffer in secrecy, and parents are generally over-concerned about homework and grades,  often oblivious to the emotional damage a child is receiving at the hands of bullies. So what can be done?

  1. Instill in children a habit of sharing what goes on in school, especially their relationships with peers.
  2. Help them to be vocal about problems by designating dinner time, or after school snack time, to talk about their day.
  3. Make it a point to routinely discuss the bullying issue.
  4. If needed, bring up the subject at parent/teacher meetings
  5. Promote confidence within the child and assure him/her of parental support.

Sometimes, parents tend to gloss over the problem, believing that the child must learn to fight his/her own battles. Truly so, but not at the cost of emotional damage resulting in a pock-marked personality.

In our workplace and careers, adults always have recourse. Children learn to cover up and to cope while  looking up for parental help and guidance.

How have you addressed bullying with your child? What steps do you take to make sure that your child is bully-free?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

A. Lawati is the author of The Jungle Adventure of Chimpoo, a children’s book that educates both kids and parents on the importance of loyalty and not being judgmental. Lawati has enjoyed telling stories to younger children for years, especially about animal adventures. Before immigrating to Canada in 2002, Lawati worked as a banker in Dubai. He lives in Toronto with his family. This is his first book.

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