Cyberbullying, in particular, has become an increasingly common and serious issue largely due to the easy access, and in some cases the anonymity, of digital devices.
As a fierce advocate for children and their well-being, CHOC Children’s recommends the following guidelines to help your child fight bullying and educate them about this critical issue.
Heather Huszti, a psychology director at CHOC, says one of the best ways to protect your children from bullying is to talk openly about it. “Have a discussion about why some kids might be bullies,” she says. “You can explain that most bullies have low self-esteem and that they bully other people to try to feel better about themselves.”
Dr. Huszti suggests asking your child open-ended questions such as, “Is there anything going on?” or “Is there anything I can help you with?” This approach usually works better than firing off a list of specific questions.
If you learn your child is being bullied, here are some additional steps you can take:
* Inform your child’s school about the bullying.
* Talk with the bully’s parents about the behavior.
* Help your child build up his or her self-esteem. The better your child feels about herself, the less effect a bully will have on her overall well-being.
* Be mindful of your child’s online activity.
* Have a plan. Talk about what your child might do if he or she is bullied, including who to tell.
*Pay close attention to signs from your child that may show something is wrong, such as acting withdrawn, sad or irritable, or changes in their sleep or appetite. Keep in mind however, that sometimes kids will not display any signs at all so it’s important to keep an open dialogue with your child.
For more information about bullying, or if you have concerns about your child’s emotional well-being, please contact CHOC Children’s Pediatric Psychology at 714-532-8481.