A natural parental instinct is to protect your child. Especially when it comes to the issue of bullying. Nobody ever wants to see their child in physical or emotional pain. It is one of the worst feelings for a parent to experience. So, what is a parent to do if their child is getting severely bullied at school?
First, talk to your child. Find out what is going on. Kids are naturally secretive and may not be forthcoming with their situation. You might have to pry a little to get them to fess up. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for victims of bullying to hide their pain. They might feel ashamed, helpless, depressed, and frustrated. Be a caring parent, not a friend, when opening the lines of communication with your child on this issue. When your child is in pain, he or she needs unconditional love, security, strength, wisdom, guidance and a strong foundation that only you, their parent, can provide.
Second, visit the school and find out what they (teachers, principal, counselor, superintendent) might know about the situation. If they are not aware your child is being bullied, make them aware. This may or may not solve the problem. I know many parents who have taken this step and found the situation did not get resolved in a timely manner, was not taken seriously or not handled at all, leaving them frustrated with no other option than to homeschool.
A lot of parents are now opting to homeschool their children due to the school system’s repeated failure to stop the bullying of their child. Many parents see homeschooling as the best solution to the problem. Sometimes this action solves the problem. But many times there is one key area that gets overlooked. The emotional damage already done to the child by the bully before their homeschooling lessons even begin.
Removing your child from a bullying situation does not mean the pain the bully caused disappears. This very important issue should be addressed in order to avoid it festering within your child and leading to damaging self-esteem issues, amongst other problems down the road.
As a parent, you have every right to monitor your child’s computer and phone activity in order to protect them, while at the same time respecting their privacy. Protection and privacy have a fine line that sometimes needs to be crossed for the right reason, like bullying.
The bottom-line, homeschooling can be a good thing to help resolve bullying problems, especially if the school fails to do so. But, at the same time, it can also raise other problems because of social-isolation, an inability to develop coping mechanisms to handle bullying issues and not dealing with the emotional fall-out which still exists even though the child was removed from the immediate bullying situation.
Being a parent in today’s society is no easy task . Neither is being a kid. Talk to your children and keep in touch with what is happening in their lives whether you choose home schooling as the solution to your child’s bullying issue or not. Hug them. Tell them often that you love them and that you are there for them no matter what. A child being bullied needs that support and assurance in order to help overcome the damage done to their self-esteem because of bullying. By being there for them, you can help turn your child’s negative feelings about themselves into positive feelings. Big Hugs!!!
When I think of High School, the John Hughes flick, “Pretty In Pink” often comes to mind. Particularly the creatively dressed character Andie, played by Molly Ringwald.
For those who have never seen the movie, Andie was a girl from the poor side of town who got bullied by the rich kids at her school, because she was different. But more than being different, Andie was a talented designer and a caring person who never judged anyone for anything. She accepted people as they were. Rich. Poor. Ugly. Pretty. It did not matter. She was real and couldn’t be bought or impressed by money. The rich bullies knew down inside that Andie was a better person than they would ever be and they hated her for it.
A classic line Andie quoted from the movie, when her Dad asked her why she was still going the prom despite having been dumped by her date. Her reply to him was; “I just want them to know that they didn’t break me.”
Thanks to social media outlets and interactions at school or events, it is darn near impossible to escape being bullied. Victims get their spirit broken again and again, often turning the hatred the bullies vent at them onto themselves in the form of self-hatred. This is not good and only leads to destroying everything that is wonderful about you. Don’t let that happen. It is a new school year and a perfect time to make changes. Like Columbus, your bullies are about to discover they can’t break you anymore. This new school year is going to be about not showing your bullies, but showing yourself that you are a survivor.
Listen, the idea of showing them, while grand in it’s approach, is not the solution to your problem. What if you were to try something new. “What might that be?”, you ask. How about you rise above the nonsense, the put-downs, the gossip and the endless distractions and stay focused on what is really important. Your life. Your future. Your goals. The most important goal of all; being the best you that you can possibly be. Not for anyone else, but for you. I know that might sound narcissistic, but it’s not. I’m not talking about developing a big ego or thinking you are better than anyone else. What I am saying is that for every tear down someone delivers to you, it’s a reason for you to give yourself two build-ups. This is how you avoid having your self-esteem destroyed.
For example: If someone is constantly picking on your weight and making you feel bad about yourself, what you need to do is tune out their negative image of you because that is only their opinion of you, not your opinion of yourself. And if that is how you feel about yourself, you need to change your thinking. Instead of agreeing with your bully or tearing yourself down, you need to reassure yourself that you are wonderfully and perfectly made.
Always keep in mind that the only way someone can break you, is if you give them the power to do so. People say and do horrible things to one another all the time. The important thing to remember is how you respond to what is said or done. Are you going to let it defeat you? Or, are you going to defeat it? Are you a defeater? Or, are you the defeated? The choice is yours. Be strong and rise above it!