Help! My Child Is Being Bullied!
When our children are in danger or being threatened, the “Mama Bear” in us wants to come out fighting fierce and strong. Our human nature may go against the way God wants us to respond.
A child should never have to endure bullying. Intervention should be employed immediately to prevent physical or emotional damage.
The abusive and disturbing reality of bullying has profound impacts on children and if severe enough, can lead to death or suicide.
The Ugly Face Of Bullying
Behavior towards another that is aggressive, harmful and distressing is exhibited to establish power. It happens between children and adults in all types of settings.
Those that bully others feel empowered to prey on the weak or those that are smaller physically and stand out in a crowd. Typically thier victims are shy, small in stature, disabled or have pronounced physical features.
Forms Of Bullying
- Calling someone names
- Racial/ethnic slurring
- Profanity directed at victim
- Making fun of victim
- Bodily contact; hitting, touching, kicking, shoving/pushing
- Destruction/vandalizing/stealing personal property
- Gossip or spreading rumors about victim
- Isolating victim through exclusion
- Done via social media, texting, photos
- All of the above forms are done virtually through the internet/phone
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
The Reality Of Bullying
Statistics only reflect a small portion of the population of children that endure the suffering inflicted through bullying.
Most kids will not report it to the parent(s) or to school authorities for fear of suffering further retribution from the bullies.
There is a high population of children being bullied that do not report it or tell someone.
They will not tell parents or school officials what’s happening because they fear retaliation. Most kids are convinced that it won’t do any good to tell someone about it.
Those who bully are more prone to be involved in ungodly activities such as smoking, drinking, drugs, vandalizing, and may eventually drop out of school.
They may carry weapons to school or participate in crimes leading to prison.
Profile Of A Bully
- No self-esteem
- Having problems at home
- Lack family structure or family values
- Does not know God
The victims of bullying suffer quietly with scars going deep. Emotional disorders and even suicide can happen as a result.
Some will seek tragic revenge through school shootings killing the one who bullied them.
Profile Of A Victim
- Meek and shy
- Small stature
- Physical features that stand out (freckles, glasses, braces, shoe size, body shape etc.)
Image Courtesy of WomanofGod.com
What Can You Do?
Never downplay someone picking on your child. “Kids will be kids” is not something your child should hear from a parent. Bullying is not acceptable.
Look For Signs
If your child exhibits any of the following signs of bullying, talk to them.
- Physical injuries: bruises, cuts, scrapes, scratches
- Destruction/vandalization/missing personal property
- Does not want to go to school or seems fearful of going
- Behavioral: anxious, crying, moody, withdrawn
- Wants to stay home
- Asks for more lunch money
- Loses things
If your child has confirmed that they have been bullied, it’s time to take things seriously and take appropriate action. You must be proactive and assertive.
- Get as much information from your child as you can.
- Name of child bullying them.
- Location/times of bullying
- Circumstances surrounding the event
- Witnesses to event
- Contact the school and make an appointment to see the principal immediately.
- Provide the school everything in writing.
- If possible have the school to set up a meeting with the child doing the bullying as well as their parents. When meeting them, you should be calm, resolute, and make it abundantly clear that if it continues, it will bring consequences and you fully expect their cooperation. This is a delicate scenario and requires assertiveness without threats.
- If the bullying continues after the meeting, contact the school administration, as well as the local law enforcement agency. Seeking legal counsel may be required at this point. In a worst-case scenario, you may need to transfer your child to another school.
- Do whatever you can do within the law to protect your child’s security and safety while preserving their self-respect.
As soon as your child comes in the door from school each day, be sure to ask how their day went. You can generally gauge things from their response. Be persistent until you get an answer if they are reluctant to answer.
Be persistent in prayer lifting up the child that is bullying. Perhaps they do not know God, or they have a situation at home that is causing them to act out. Leave it in God’s hands and trust in Him to handle things.
Lastly, encourage your child to report bullying if they see someone else being bullied. Teach them that bullying goes against the teachings of Christ and that they too should pray for the bully.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6