Kids Helpline reported that 74 counselling contacts a week were made in 2016 in relation to bullying. Bullying is defined as a systematic abuse of power and includes verbal abuse, exclusion, threats, aggression and personal harm. An increasing amount of children feel unsafe as a result of online or texting activity. As technology increases children’s anxiety and stress, cybersafety and bullying are at focus and as a parent you naturally want to protect your son.
Here are some ways you can protect your son from bullying.
Prevention is key to reducing vulnerability to harm before it happens. This means being informed as a parent and teaching your son to seek and reach out for help. You should discuss with your son what constitutes as bullying behaviour, especially online so he can recognise and identify it before it escalates. Look for signs as children often feel ashamed or frightened to speak out. Tell-tale signs include isolation, reduced academic performance or reluctance to attend school.
Empowerment and support
Give your son positive reinforcement and support. Let him know he is loved and valued by focusing on his positive characteristics. Encouraging him to talk isn’t always easy but always be ready to listen. Together you can discuss resolutions and responses to empower him to tackle the problem and build his confidence.
Encourage freedom and opportunities to develop social skills to expand his different social circles. He will learn how to meet and engage with new people and develop friendships. Raising Children suggests isolated or lonely children are more likely to be bullied.
Respect and resilience
Boys need to be resilient and have the ability to deal with life’s ups and downs. Teach your son respect and empathy from a young age. He should know why and how we treat others with respect and how. If your son has respect for others, he is more likely to demand respect for himself and show assertion when necessary.
Importantly, inform the School of any problems or concerns. At Christ Church, we regularly educate boys on how to deal with cyberbullying through initiatives and activities such as eSmart Week. Here are some useful resources to tackle cyberbullying.