National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month: Supporting the Children Involved
The seventh—and last— part in our National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month series will focus on how to support children involved in bullying.
A Preface to Supporting Children Involved in Bullying
When faced with a bullying situation, more than just the victim can be affected. It is important for adults to remember they should provide support to all children involved—including the bully, the bullied, and the bystanders. Ensuring that every child involved receives adequate support can prevent the bullying from continuing.
It is especially important for adults not to neglect the bystanders during a bullying situation. It is easy to get caught up in strictly trying to resolve the situation, but even children who were witnesses can be strongly affected. This includes ensuring these students are able to process the situation and feel safe reporting future instances
How to Support Children Who are Bullied
According to stopbullying.gov, adults should do the following to support children who have been bullied:
Give your attention to the child being bullied.
Ensure the child understands that they are not at fault.
Be patient as it can be hard for a child to talk about being bullied.
Provide the child with advice as to how they can counteract the bully.
Work with the child to resolve the situation.
Stay on top of the situation as it may not be solved quickly or easily.
The following should be avoided by adults trying to provide support to a bullied child:
Do not advise a child to ignore a bully.
Never place the blame on the child being bullied.
Never advise a child to physically fight back against the person bullying them.
Do not involve parents unless no other resolution can be reached as it may make the situation worse.
How to Address a Child Who is Bullying
According to stopbullying.gov, adults should respond to a child exhibiting bullying behavior in the following ways:
Address the situation with the child directly. They need to know exactly what behavior is being detrimental to their peers.
Alert the child to bullying being a serious offense, but make sure that respectful behavior is demonstrated during all dealings with the child.
Try and find out if there is an underlying reason for why the child is bullying his/her peers.
To try and teach the child that bullying is wrong you can use discipline methods such as developing empathy to discourage future bullying. This can be done with methods such as the child leading a class discussion on how to avoid bullying or be a good peer, writing an essay on the effects of bullying, reading a book about bullying, etc.
Involve the child who bullied in the resolution of the situation. The child needs to be aware of the consequences their actions had. This can be done in ways such as repairing any damage they cause, writing an apology letter, etc.
Only try to involve solutions that you know will work and do not have any negative connotation for the child who bullied. The goal is to try to get the student to see the error of their ways—not to demoralize them.
How to Support a Child Who Witnessed Bullying
Make sure the child understands that reporting the problem was the right thing to do.
Ensure the child understands they will face reproductions or retaliation for reporting the bullying .
Again, be patient. Similar to a child who was bullied, witnesses to bullying may struggle when asked to talk about the issue.
Tell the witness what they did right, then provide the child with additional advice as to how they can counteract the bully.