5 Ways to Support a Child that is Being Bullied

It can be painful discovering that your child is being bullied, and our first reaction as a parent can often be that of anger. We encourage you to take a deep breath and remember that bullying is NEVER the fault of the person who is bullied. Sharing this with your child is important. Below are a few simple ways COPA offers to help a child develop the skills they need to protect their rights, heal from bullying and build self-confidence: 1. Validate your child for their courage in coming to you. For example, you could say, “It’s not easy to ask for help in a situation like this. I’m really glad you talked to me - it was very brave of you”. 2. Listen actively and attentively, and ask open-ended questions that do not require a simple yes or no. For example, “How long has this been going on?” instead of “Has this been going on for a long time?” will jumpstart a conversation and enable your child to express themselves in more detail. Try not to project your own feelings into the conversation, and do help them to name THEIR feelings. 3. Empower your child by helping them to brainstorm their own strategies instead of suggesting solutions. This will contribute to building their sense of personal power, and help them learn the skills they need in the long term. 4. Spend time together assessing the above strategies, selecting options and creating an action plan . In the course of doing this, it’s important for you to affirm to them that things CAN change, that there is hope, and that they are not powerless. 5. Follow up! Check in regularly with your child to ensure they are safe and not being bullied. While respecting a child’s confidentiality is very important, it may be necessary to speak with the teacher or the principal if the bullying continues. As parents, our role is to model healthy communication to our children, and to create in our homes a dynamic and visible culture of kindness, compassion and empathy. This will ensure that your child is not only safe, but part of the cycle of positive change. Order COPA’s Bullying Prevention Guide for parents and caregivers from our eBoutique and learn more about bullying and get more tips like these. COPA has some more fantastic resources available on line on our website for parents and caregivers - copahabitat.ca - and in print and DVD format, available free of charge by ordering from our eBoutique: · Our easy-to-use pocket guide highlighting COPA’s unique steps for empowerment problem-solving · Our series of 10 engaging short animated films featuring the Capsule families, and discussion guides on preventing bullying · Our multimedia toolkits designed for parents and caregivers - WE ALL BELONG and A Circle of Caring · Our fun app that helps develop emotional intelligence and communication: Émotichrome · Our illustrated storybook series for young children featuring the Capsule families and the theme of kindness, compassion, caring and courage · Our comic book for children 9-11, also featuring the Capsule families and the theme of peer pressure And coming soon: Guide for parents and guardians on home and school collaboration And if you are an educator looking to prevent bullying and strengthen home and school collaboration, look for our guides and Professional Learning Modules - part of Safe@School, a joint initiative with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation.