Talking to a teen about bullying is tough, since it is a very sensitive subject. While many teens go through a phase where they are teased and bullied, it becomes worse when they are unable to talk to their parents or teachers and inform them about the bullying. Teasing is common everywhere, but the moment it results in causing physical harm, it’s a cause of concern.
With the advancements in technology and many gadgets being available to children, bullying is not restricted to the classroom, park or home, but has entered blog posts, social networking sites, chat rooms etc. Here are some ways a parent can approach the child to know about bullying.
- The local newspaper gives information about many activities in one’s neighborhood, including instances of bullying and their consequences. Parents can use this as a start-up tool to brood the topic. Asking the child if he/she has any idea about bullying and also assuring that parents are present to lend a helping hand anytime they find that they are being bullied can help reassure the teen.
Teens usually prefer to stay in their own world of friends, studies and social network, making it difficult for parents to gain entry. Parents can only let their teens be assured of the support and further probing is not going to help.
- As a casual talk, parents can ask about the situation in school/college and if they find any instances of bullying. If the teen starts talking about bullying to self or others, listen patiently, without panicking and interrupting. This will help the teen open up completely and also give you time to gather yourself up.
- A parent’s instant reaction towards bullying is anger and frustration. This is not appropriate if exhibited in front of the child, since this will only keep the teen away from talking about it. Suppress your emotion with regard to bullying and only lend a patient ear.
- Sharing your experiences of bullying can help the teen open up in case he/she is bullied.
- Give the teen tips to deal and tackle bullying. Counter acting with anger, frustration or low self-esteem is not going to solve the problem. Ignoring and not giving into the wishes of the bully are some of the strategies which a teen can follow.
Sometimes it’s easier said than done when it comes to giving advices. Parents have to be patient and help the teen in all the possible ways to deal with bullying.