It’s not a nice thing to find out – that your child is being bullied. The best way to try and stop this from happening, or prevent it all together, is to talk openly with your child. You don’t necessarily have to sit there and talk about bullying specifically and what to do in those kinds of situations. If you just talk to your child in general, you’ll get to know better what their daily life is like.
Many parents think they already know what goes on in their child’s life. But the truth is they can’t. As soon as your child goes off to school, they have their own conversations with people, and their own interactions. The parents only get to know a snippet of their day as told by the child. So, that’s why it’s a good idea to encourage talking openly and honestly with your children. Share with them and they will share with you.
Children can sometimes be stubborn and difficult, but asking them closed questions like “Did you get your homework done?” or “Did you have a good day?” is not going to help. To encourage them to share more about how their day went and what they’ve been up to, ask them open-ended questions like “Tell me about your day.” or “Did anything good happen today?” Engage with them about teachers, classrooms, sports, lunch, and other part of the day that may be significant.
The more your child feels they can talk to you, the more they will. Talking freely with your child builds their confidence and also makes them feel they can trust you. Keep them talking by saying things like “Tell me more about that” or “What happened next?”. The more open the lines of communication are with your child, the more likely you will detect any signs of bullying. You also want your child to know that you are interested in their daily life, including knowing about the things that make them happy or sad.
Just a 15-minute conversation per day with your child can help them learn how to cope with difficult situations and tackle any problems they may be experiencing together. Your child can also help likes and dislikes which can help you steer them in the right direction in terms of building friendships and boosting their self-esteem. Also getting to know the people your child hangs around with can be a good way to connect with them also.
While most people lives are extremely busy these days, balancing work and home life, taking that 15-minutes out to spend with your child can make all the difference both now and in later life. Talk during car rides, while making dinner, or while grocery shopping.
Whatever it takes, just make the effort. It truly will make a difference.