Safety at SchoolBullying
What can I do to help my Child?
NSW public school counsellor Caroline Powell talks about how parents can support a child who is being bullied.
We send our children off to school each day to learn. In between lessons they go outside to play – but the learning doesn’t stop.
In fact, the playground can help prepare our children for some of the social challenges they will face throughout their lifetime.
Everyday disagreements are important lessons in your child’s personal development as they help to build a stronger and more resilient child. A child who is able to bounce back from disappointment, resolve an argument with a class mate and make their way around the playground feeling confident and secure.
Some kids have lots of friends. Others are naturally quiet and happy in the company of just one or two other friends.
This doesn’t mean they are a social failure, nor does it mean they will be bullied.
But for children who have experienced bullying there are some things you can do as their parent to help them.
- Talk to them about what friendship means. If they are repeatedly teased or harassed by someone within their social group it’s important that your child understands this is not how real friends treat one another. Perhaps your child is trying to fit into the wrong group, and needs to find friendships that are a better fit.
- Encourage your child to broaden their friendship circles and find children who have common interests.
- Look for activities your child can be a part of outside of school. Soccer, football, tennis and netball are all great sports but they’re not for everyone. Perhaps your child is more artistic, they might like to cook or play chess. Finding activities they are good at and enjoy will build their self-confidence and introduce them to similar types of kids.
- Practise pretend conversations with your child to demonstrate how to respond to other kids when they’re being hostile or aggressive.
- Encourage your child to stand tall and look people directly in the eye – positive body language will make your child LOOK more confident.
- Get them to use neutral phrases like “whatever” when a fellow student tries to aggravate them.
- Talk to your child’s teacher about supporting your child. Ask the teacher to work with you on trying to improve your child’s self-esteem and confidence by giving encouragement where it’s deserved.
- Focus on what they does well, on their strengths and the things that make you proud of them.
What you do at home, how you resolve fights, how you communicate as a family and how you support each other is one of the most important skills you give your kids to prepare them for life.
We all want the best for every student.
If you believe your child needs help with their relationships at school, talk to your principal about making an appointment with your school counsellor.