Child Bullying: It Could Happen to Anyone

July 21, 2019
What should you do as a parent when your child is the victim of bullying? We'd like to help you out in this article.

In recent years, stories about child bullying are all over the news and newspaper headlines. The term is on everyone’s lips and, as much as we all know what it is, few of us truly know how to act when confronted by it.

We tend to know even less about what to do when it’s our children who are facing this problem. After all, children should learn how to solve their own problems, right? The question always is: Should you jump in and try to defend them or not?

For this reason, we’d like to give you some ideas on what to do if your child is a victim of bullying. Continue reading to find out.

What Exactly is Child Bullying?

Many fingers pointing at a boy with a black eye.
Bullying or systematic abuse can be either physical or emotional, or through community acts such as shunning.

Bullying refers to a dynamic of consistent structural abuse between peers over some time. However, this kind of abuse isn’t always physical. In contrast, it may encompass all sorts of harmful and toxic attitudes towards a victimized person. It may include insults, shunning, cruel jokes and cyberbullying, among others.

According to data from a study endorsed by the World Health Organization, peer harassment affects nearly 32% of children between the ages of 9 and 18 in the world.

Several investigations concluded that the impact of bullying is negative for a child in the short, medium, and long term.

Harassment is not a problem children should have to resolve. Instead, it’s your duty as a parent or just as an adult to act on behalf of any abuse victim.

If your child is the victim of any kind of abuse by his or her peers in any environment, you may want to continue reading. We’re about to tell you how to help solve bullying problems, whether they’re physical or emotional.

You may be interested: Bullying Leads to Tragic Suicide of 11 Year Old Boy

How to Act in the Face of Bullying

The role of parents in bullying situations is fundamental to eradicating this problem, as it can deeply affect the emotional and physical development of a person.

However, it’s first important to take some time to understand the act of bullying before you take action.

1. Why Does Child Bullying Occur

Intimidation happens when a person is continually tortured through pushing, gossiping, insults, beatings, and even sexual attacks by an individual or a group. Quite often, the “excuse” for such attacks are:

  • Physical appearance.
  • Socioeconomic status.
  • Odd behavior (for example, shy or otherwise vulnerable children are often easy targets of cruel attacks).
  • Race or religion.
  • Sexual inclination. In this case, it doesn’t matter if the victim truly has homosexual inclinations or not. It’s often enough for an aggressor to think and say they are to proceed to intimidate someone.

As you evaluate whether your child is truly a victim of bullying, consider whether such acts have escalated and if they’ve been maintained over a certain period or if it’s a one-time situation.

This is the key to determine if you’re dealing with long-time bullying or with one-time aggression.

2. Why You Should Intervene and Take Action

A woman crying in bed.
Bullying of a child or a teenager or even an adult can lead to severe depression.

Before assessing how to act against bullying, clarify why you, as a parent, should take action in the matter. Any kind of abuse sustained over time will harm your child.

It may show as:

  • Low self-esteem.
  • Stress.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression. Note that cases of severe depression may lead to suicide. Unfortunately, many victims of long-term bullying opt for that option when they can no longer stand the constant violations of their well-being.

Read also: How to Help Your Children Face Peer Pressure

3. Action Strategies for Parents Dealing with Child Bullying

Now, let’s see how parents can take action against the bullying of your children.

It’s important that you keep your cool and remain as calm as you can throughout this process. You need to be the pillar of strength that your child needs to lean upon.

First Step: Investigate and Find Out What Happened

  • Listen to your child. Whether you found out what’s going on through them or not, if they trust you enough to talk about it, then just listen to them without questioning them. Never, ever punish a child for telling you the truth.
  • Make your child feel safe. In fact, comfort them. They’re probably down and need to feel loved and sheltered. This is regardless of how old they are.
  • Know the facts. Knowledge is power, so find out all of the details before you take any action. Remember, listen without judging and save your reactions for a later time when they’re not present. Find out what happened exactly and in as much detail as possible: dates, places, witnesses, cyberbullying and evidence thereof, etc.
  • Let your child know that you appreciate them telling you what happened. Most of the time, young ones feel betrayed by “tattling” on someone and feel quite guilty about it. Let them know they did the right thing.

Second Step: Take Action

  • Meet with your child’s teacher. They should know what’s going on, if they don’t already, and act accordingly.
  • Talk to the school principal. If bullying does not stop after the teacher intervenes, then you should talk to a higher competent authority. Children bullying leads to serious emotional and even physical damage that puts your child at risk. Request a meeting with the principal and make sure the teacher also attends so you can put an end to it all as soon as possible.
  • Meet with the bully’s parents. School authorities can arrange a meeting with the parents of your child’s aggressor. Do keep in mind that it’s likely to be uncomfortable because every parent wants to believe in their child’s goodness.
  • If the school doesn’t help, file a police report. If all of the above fails and the bullying continues, don’t hesitate to file a police report.

There are bullying hotlines in many places. You can find your local one through a simple search online. Furthermore, anti-bullying campaigns are often advertised on radio and TV.

It’s not easy to define how you should act when confronted with child bullying. Taking action may seem exaggerated at times, but it’s not. Don’t hesitate to take action on the matter if someone’s bullying your kid.

It’s not a child’s problem, and they should never have to resolve it on their own.

  • Musalem, Ricardo. Castro, Paulina. (2014). Qué se sabe de bullying. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rmclc.2014.12.002
  • Ministerio de Educación de Ontario. Intimidación: todos podemos detenerla. http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/multi/spanish/bullyinges.pdf
  • ChildHelp. Prevención de la intimidación: Lo que los padres y los niños pueden hacer para detener la intimidación en conjunto. https://www.childhelp.org/blog/bullying-prevention-tips-parents-children/?lang=es