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Not Even Once: Teaching Your Child to Stand Up to Cyberbullies

This Blog Was Wrote As A Guest Blog By: Laura Pearson

When it comes to training a child to stand up for themselves, it is important that parents teach intolerance. Not the negative kind of intolerance, but the kind that says ‘You’re not going to mess with me, not even once’. Because bullies often feed on weakness, aiding a child in the formation of a strong, confident, and communicative personality is the

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first step in ensuring that they will be successful not only in warding off grade-school bullies, but in life.

(Photo via Pixabay)

The Effects of Bullying Victimization

These days, kids are using increasingly ubiquitous technology more than ever. The Guardian reports that 72% of children under the age of eight have used a mobile device, and even 38% of children under the age of two have used one. Those are astounding figures, and the all-consuming nature which technology tends to take on has contributed to a steady decline in daily reading as children progress into their teenage years.

Unfortunately, this reliance on technology, and phones specifically, as a centerpiece in daily life has resulted in young people putting far too much stock in the perceptions created by social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and YouTube. Instagram in particular has been found to have the most profoundly negative effect on young people’s mental health, according to CNN.

If negative experiences on social media persist, a young person may display behavioral changes that parents should be keen to. Depression and anxiety can persist long-beyond the years in which a person is constantly bullied, often affecting their outlook into adulthood. According to Masters in Psychology Guide, those who are bullied often tend to have trust issues, are often loners in adulthood, and may make more harmful choices as they feel less in control of their own happiness.

If a child is displaying signs and symptoms of depression and/or anxiety, it must be considered that they are being victimized by a bully, which these days more often than not means the online form of torment.

The Home is Ground Zero for Bullying Prevention

The first step in being able to assist your child if they are combating persistent bullying is to foster strong communication within the home. A child who has good communication skills – which are most often formed in the home – will gain several benefits which will help them throughout school and beyond. Chief among them are a more impressive personality, stronger bonds with friends and family, and speaking convincingly while controlling their body language.

These traits are all representative of strength and confidence, two personality characteristics that bullies actively avoid when choosing victims. However, bullying can happen to anybody, and parents should also form strong communication modes so that, if their child is bullied, that child will be more likely to speak to their parents about the problem.

It must be made clear to the child that bullying, even in its least over forms, must not be tolerated. Microaggressions, including microinsults, microassaults, and microinvalidation, while somewhat difficult to define, constitute ways in which bullies insidiously erode their victims’ confidence and sense of comfort inside and outside of school. Parents must ask their child what exactly the bully has been doing to victimize their child, responding by urging their child to utilize their communication skills in responding maturely yet forcefully.

Parents should also consider calling a suspected bully’s parents in order to inform them of the problem, and bringing the issue to the attention of school administrators as a next step toward a resolution.

Conclusion

Parenting is fraught with peril and difficult decisions. The line between coddling or micromanaging a child’s life and being vigilant to their issues and needs is a fine one. When it comes to preventing bullying toward your child, the best tool is instilling strong communication skills which lessen their chances of being victimized. If a problem does arise, parents must talk honestly with their child about how to stand up to bullies nonviolently, and if that does not work, approach the bully’s parents and/or school administrators for a more authoritative solution.

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