Helping your Child Deal with Harassment at School
School is a regular part in the life of a child and most of the kids enjoy the rewards and challenges that it offers. Going to school is a wonderful experience as they gain knowledge and also learn valuable lessons. They learn social skills and grow physically and emotionally. The positive aspects outweigh the negative aspects for most of the children. There are some problems that children often face at school and parents should teach their children to handle these problems that occur.
Tips for Parents to Help your Child with Harassment at School
Encourage your child to stand up verbally for themselves whenever they are confronted by a bully. Teach them to say “no” when they feel uncomfortable or pressured. Situations in which they feel threatened, tell them to walk away or get help from an adult.
Do not Teach Self-Defense Unless in Physical Danger:
Children should be taught not to use a weapon or fight when he/she gets verbally harassed by a bully. A physical response can make the bully more aggressive and your child can be perceived as the aggressor. Teach your child to express their feelings clearly to respond to hostility in a calm, verbal way. Tell them that if they are not able to respond in a calm way then they should try to turn and walk away. Bullies are less likely to frighten or threaten children who respond in a confident way or those who ignore them.
Teach about sexual Harassment:
Bullying can occur in different forms, one of which is sexual harassment. This type of harassment can include various behaviors. Grabbing, patting, touching, pinching, subtle or overt sexual remarks and offensive jokes can be different types of sexual harassment. The American Association of University Women has stated that nearly 81% of children have undergone this kind of harassment. Many of the students do not report such incidents to their parents and teachers. So you as a parent should teach your children the physical boundaries and to respect their bodies. This may help them overcome such situations.
Teach the Hazards of Gangs:
Gang violence is a serious and severe problem that is occurring in urban and suburban areas. These gang activities include theft, vandalism, drugs and assault but can become more severe. The major step that parents should take to prevent their children from joining such gangs, no matter the pressure that they may feel, is education on the subject. Children are very much attracted to these gangs because of the support, friendship and bond that these gangs offer. The main thing that parents should make the children understand is that these gangs who bully them may not only be mean, but they can turn violent as well. So, tell children to stay away from such gangs.
Teach about the need to Talk to the Parents:
Encourage children to be open and share information with you because this is the first step to ensure that they do not fall victim to bullies. Try to spend quality time with your kids and make it a point to ask them about their schoolmates: know the names of their friends and the parents’ names. Make your child comfortable so that they come to you immediately, whenever they encounter bully. If your child talks to you about the harassment, respond with love, support and patience. If necessary, inform the school officials to make them alert and aware of the problem. This can help in the bonding of parents and children.
Common Symptoms of Harassment at School
Some of the symptoms include:
- Emotional outbursts
- A drop in academic performance
- Signs of physical abuse
- Fear of going to school
- Chronic anxiety
Parents should watch for these indicators and discuss these changes with their children to ensure that they are able to solve anything, should the need arise. You should do whatever you can to help your child deal with bullying and harassment successfully. This can make your child’s environment at school a more happy and enjoyable one. This in turn will help them to overcome challenges and not only survive but thrive.