A bully at a fun party for girls is no fun. Bullies have always been around. However, for today’s tweens and teens things are much worse. Not only does that bullied kid have to feel hurt, left out, made fun of, or worse in public, as in this footage, but she may go home to a sleepless night wondering what else is being said to about her on social media. As a psychologist and a filmmaker it is my mission to show you some of the challenges today’s kids face. My challenge to you is how will you deal with a bully if your daughter or son has one in his or her life? And maybe even a bigger challenge, what will you do if your child is the bully? Here are some suggestions if your child may be being bullied:
1. Monitor your child’s involvement with social media. Bullying that happens on-line may be kept from you. Create a clear stance that allows you to know what is happening on sites your child visits.
2. Share what happened to you. Any stories out of your past where you were threatened, or on the upside, put a bully in his place are great. They make you more human as a parent. Someone your child can open up to.
3. Watch your child’s behaviors. If sudden change, for example she will no longer eat at the table with the family, or his door is closed all the time don’t wait. Take time to chat. Punishing will not be as helpful as sharing your concerns, giving a hug and letting your child know you are there.
4. If she tells you about a bully or bullying at school stay alert. Ask her if she wishes you to come to school and intercede. She may not, but make clear that you will make the final judgment on the situation.
5. The best advice is listen to your child. Put your phone down, stop texting when your child is around. Stay involved in his or her life. Do activities together, from family picnics to telling jokes. Be available and take charge as necessary.
6. If you have a hunch your child is the bully, suggestion 5. is the best place to start. Once confirmed, you will need to find a moment to confront him or her, letting your child know that you know and you are there to help. You will often find out that your child has felt bullied or put down or ignored and is retaliating in some fashion.
7. Of course professional help from a counselor, social worker, psychologist, or a psychiatrist may be in order for either the bullied or the bully. We are talking about serious behaviors and possible personality disorders with lasting effects. You are the parent, do due diligence and take your child for an evaluation of you deem it necessary, whether she is the bullied or the bully.
For a look at a bully in action, please go to: https://vimeo.com/268785181