Parents never want to see their children harmed. Bullying can make them do things without thinking and make the situation worse. The problem is that parents may not even realize they are making these mistakes. By doing so, they can make the problem worse and even create lifelong patterns in their children. These patterns can be devastating whether your child is the bully or the person being bullied. Here are five mistakes that are commonly made by parents where bullies are concerned:
1. The worst mistake a parent can make with bullying is to create a bully by their own behavior. Children behave in ways that will generally get them attention. If you act like a bully, they will follow suit with others smaller than them. By doing it, you are telling them that you accept that behavior and it is okay for them to as well. You may not even realize you present bully behavior. Do you intimidate people to get things done the way you want them to? Do you call names in jest? These are some of the common signs of a bully. Consider your own behavior if your child is bullying others.
2. Whether you want to or not, you can’t ignore the fact that your child gets bullied. If you do, your child might downplay it until something serious happens. They will also lose trust in you and faith in themselves. Most of the time, children start to convince themselves that the bully must be right if even his or her own parents can ignore the issue. They begin to feel worthless and possibly even suicidal. Ignoring the situation is the absolute worst thing you can do.
3. Sometimes going to the people in charge isn’t the best option either. If the bully finds out that the child got his or her parents involved, the situation may escalate. This is especially true if there are never any actual consequences for the bullying. Parental involvement without consequences often leads to more intense bullying. Now the bully just has another topic to use. If you do get involved, be sure that the authorities in question are discrete and have an actual plan to stop the behavior.
4. Many parents resort to the “toughen up” method. That’s a great way to make your child feel as if he or she is weak in your eyes. This leads to a drop in self esteem and poor self treatment in children. No kid is “weak” simply because they are being bullied and won’t fight back. They are simply not equipped with the right social skills to deal with such a problem. You have to remember that your children don’t have the social skills that you have mastered over the years. Begin teaching them those skills and never judge them.
5. Know the difference between bullying and simple social situations. Your child may not be experiencing bullying at all. If you jump to the rescue every time there is some sort of problem, your child will never know that this is just a normal social situation. Verify what is going on and don’t allow your child to play on your parenting instincts every time they don’t get their way. This can lead to reverse bullying and will cripple your child for the long term. Most childhood arguments are filed in this category. Always listen carefully and look for signs of bullying, but don’t jump the gun either.
You can avoid these five mistakes parents make with bullying by doing your best to help your child develop a healthy self-esteem to begin with. Bullies often prey on those who are already timid. Help your child to be strong and to believe in themselves so that this is never an issue.