Guardians of children must take an active role in the child's life, constantly monitoring their behavior and asking the hard questions.
• Is there a change in your child's grades?
• Is your child losing friends or have they changed the crowd they hang out with?
• Is your child staying by themselves, seem withdrawn or depressed?
• Is your child becoming more emotional, cry easily?
• Does your child have a low self esteem, lack of confidence?
• Does your child seem uncomfortable, reluctant or have fear when getting ready for school?
• Does your child have personal items or money missing?
What Should Guardians Do?
Guardians are a safe place for youngsters turn to, always be a support system for your children.
• Open a dialog, simply ask your child if he or she is being bullied at school.
• Create a tighter bond with your child, so they feel safe to express all emotions.
• Be aware of your own behavior and aggression.
• Provide good examples of conflict resolution, without threats, yelling or name calling.
• Encourage independence in your child.
• Take action quickly, do not dismiss your child if they express uncomfortable feelings.
• Make it clear that you will not tolerate bullying behavior.
• Form a positive relationship with your child's school, as they too want a safe school climate.
• Never insult, criticize or poke fun of your child, even as a joke.
• Always make it clear that it is not their fault, why they are being targeted.
Guardians should also be on alert for signs showing that your child is a bully. Bullying behavior can be a precursor to problems later in life, especially criminal activity. It can also affect future professional and personal relationships. It is important that children learn to express themselves in healthy, socially acceptable ways, bullying is not something that society should or will tolerate. Children who bully may:
• View violence positively as a solution to most problems.
• Have a lack of respect or show aggression toward children as well as adults.
• Need to dominate and control others, always be 'right' in a situation.
• Become easily frustrated.
• Laughs or shows little sympathy, especially towards others who are being bullied.
It can be a good idea to talk to your child’s school authorities, as well as a child counselor or pediatrician to figure out a plan. Bullies need to learn why they behave the way they do and what they can change so that they are showing more acceptable behaviors.
Guardians and other adults can play an important roll in the reduction of bullying. It is important to notice what is going on with children and watch for signs if a child is participating in, observing or a target of bullying behavior. In any case, it is crucial that adults display harmonious resolutions, positive respectful behavior at all times, especially in the presence of children.
Whether your child is being bullied or creating a negative environment for others...it is nothing to be embarrassed about or ashamed of, we all have experienced negativity in one form or another, that is why there are so many resources out there, so adults need to talk about negative situations and work together to create a positive society.
When a child hurts themselves, everyone is affected, family members, friends, teammates, neighbors and sometimes even those who didn't know the child well might experience feelings of grief, confusion, guilt — often leaving those with the question that if only they had done something differently, could it have been prevented. We all must be aware of our actions and do the best we can to be supportive, approachable and a positive influence on those around us.