No parent ever wants to find that their child is being bullied, but it, unfortunately, can happen to most kids. When it does though, there are things you can do as a parent to support your child. Let’s talk about what to do when older kids bully younger kids.
It is important to comfort and support your child if they are being bullied by an older kid. Talk to them about the situation and discuss the steps to take. This includes informing the school of the bullying and talking with the bully’s parents. Also teach your child how to deescalate confrontations.
The most important thing you can do is support your child. Read on to find out more.
What can you do as a parent if your child is being bullied by an older kid?
As a parent, it is important for you to be there for your child, especially when they might be being bullied. If you find out that an older kid is bullying your child, gently approach your child to talk to them about it. Listen calmly and comfort your young one. Remember that it will take them time to open up because they may be hesitant to share their experiences. This is especially so when it is an older kid that is bullying them. There is a lot of fear that can be caused by older kids because they seem to have more power over younger children.
Be sure to praise your child for opening up to you about a bully. Reassure them that they aren’t alone and that you will support them. From here, you can talk with your child about a plan to handle the bully.
This plan should involve talking to an authoritative figure such as a teacher or principal. Your child might be hesitant to do so, but it is important, especially in school environments, to help end harassment. Keep in mind, bullies often have more than one target. Explain to your child that they could be helping lots of other kids by coming forward.
Bullying is unacceptable from any age, but it is extremely important to address the situation when it is an older kid bullying a younger kid. This can result in fear and trauma development if nothing is done about it. By approaching the school and parents of the bully, you can help put an end to the behaviour sooner.
Teach your child how to respond to bullies at school
The best way you can help your child is to educate them about handling bullies and standing up for themselves. This involves having important conversations with them to explain that bullies act out to feel a sense of power. Also, that they aren’t very empathetic and often have an upsetting situation in their own life that triggers their behaviour. Bullies are children that haven’t learnt common sense and instead target other kids to feel in control of something. The goal is to help your kid understand that the bullying isn’t actually about them. But make sure they know it isn’t an excuse for the behaviour of an older kid bullying them, more of reasoning behind it.
From there, teach your child to continue to speak up about any bullying behaviour. There is no excuse for the behaviour itself.
Some things to tell a child who is being bullied by an older kid at school are:
Do not allow a bully to make you feel worthless
This touches on the explanation that bullies have their own problems that cause their actions. Make sure your child knows that it isn’t to do with who they are. A bully can get your child to feel really down about themselves. Teach them to think of something good about themselves whenever something negative is said by their bully.
Walk away when a bully upset you
It is important for your child to try and not show the bully that they have upset them because it rewards their behaviour. Bullies find satisfaction out of hurting other children. Teach your child to walk away, even if it is straight to a teacher. The bully then doesn’t get to see them upset and an adult will immediately know about the behaviour.
Keep an eye out for signs that your child is being bullied
As a parent or a teacher, it is important to know when a child is being bullied. This knowledge is the first step to dealing with a bully. Often children who are victims of bullying don’t talk about what is happening and struggle to maintain happiness. This is why, as a parent, you should keep an eye out for signs of bullying.
- Your child seems overly anxious and on edge.
- Your child is struggling with eating and sleeping.
- They seem moodier or are more easily irritated than usual.
- They avoid activities they loved in the past, like taking a bus, or are reluctant to go to school.
If you notice these signs in your child’s behaviour it is important to find the best way to approach them about it. Lots of kids won’t respond if you ask them outright. But there are ways to help them open up about bullying. For instance, a television show with a bullying episode could help spark a conversation. You could follow it up by asking questions like ‘have you seen something like this happen before?’ You could also start explaining a personal experience of yours from near their age where you might have experienced a form of bullying. This helps your kid to realise that you understand the situation and might have the answer. Building good communication with your kids is vital in supporting them.
How can adults help stop children bullying?
Kids will be kids, but adults can help influence anti-bullying behaviours. It is important to do your part in helping to stop bullies, whether they are older or younger kids. Here are some methods you can try:
Implement authoritative parenting method
The authoritative parenting method is a very nurturing and communicative way of raising your children. This parenting sets firm limits but explains these limits and rules to the children so that everyone has the same understanding. It involves a lot of talking with your children which can create a very open and trusting home environment. As a parent, you show a lot of affection towards your kid. This decreases the likelihood of negative emotions in your children, so they won’t lash out at others. On the other hand, if your child is being bullied by an older kid, they will feel comfortable coming to you about it.
Encourage a positive family environment
A positive family environment is a key to supporting your children as they grow. Every family bickers and can become irritated at one another, but there shouldn’t be constant negative energy in the home. Don’t condone name-calling or tense fights. Instead, promote communication and understanding. A negative family environment often leads to children becoming bullies.
Teach your children emotional and interpersonal skills
Kids who are able to talk about feelings, navigate peer groups well and are emotionally intelligent are more likely to stand up to bullies. So, you should encourage your child to be open about what they are thinking and feeling. Teach them how to talk to all kinds of people. Most importantly, help them learn about different emotions, how they cause reactions, and how to handle them. These are all tools that they will use to handle bullies themselves!
Sometimes your kids are feeling upset in the home which can lead to feelings of resentment between you both. What can you do, then, if you start hating your child? We have advice on our Vidar Australia blog! Did you know it’s common for mothers and daughters to not get along? There is lots more parenting and lifestyle advice in our articles, be sure to check them out!