The effects of bullying in children may last a lifetime, we must do something about this as no one deserves to be mistreated.
In previous newsletters we have focused on what the victim can do to stop being a bully’s target, introduced Sleep’n Sync’s Bullying program to help the child from within, and we have also shared tips for parents.
This time we will focus on the bystanders, their role, the implications of being a bystander and how to take action to prevent someone from being bullied or how to stop a bully from harming a victim.
It is helpful to picture the bullying act. In each bullying act there is a victim, the head bully, there can be assistant bullies who join in, reinforcers like an audience or the ones who laugh or encourage the bully, outsiders who stay away or take no sides, and defenders who step in, stick up or comfort the victim.
When by-standers just stay as an audience, an audience that stays there encouraging the bully, and/or afraid to speak up, they are supporting and giving confidence to the bully.
It is possible to make the audience and outsiders who take no sides the ones that take action and prevent the bullying act from happening, or from happening again. They can and should make a difference in order for a better outcome for all.
How? Make them aware of the negative effects on the victim’s life, aware they can have an active part preventing these acts from happening, aware that they are able to do something good for someone else without putting themselves in a vulnerable position.
We as parents, teachers and professional caregivers can have an active role in this, first by spreading awareness about the horrible effects of bullying in a person’s life, explaining how this generates depression and anxiety throughout their lifetime and how it feels good to help someone not have these consequences. Then we can teach the skills of what to do when they are near or at a bullying event. Finally, it is extremely important we know what to do when a child comes to us asking for help to prevent or do something about bullying.
Teaching them the tools; what to do, what to say, how to handle and how to stay safe when they see a bullying act happening.
Lead by example, that is don’t bully others and don’t encourage bullying.
Be a friend or just be nice to the person being bullied. Just being friendly to them can make them not feel alone and helpless. A smile, a hello, a supporting text message, including them in a team or activity, approaching them after-school to let them know you do not support the bullying, you do not think it is cool. Encourage the victim to tell a trusted adult.
Tell a trusted adult. Adults: do not take this lightly, it is not easy for a child to reach out to you for this, if you do not take it seriously they will likely not do it again. If a child approached you regarding bullying, you can stop it while it is happening, you can prevent it from happening again, and you can support the victim.
Help the victim get away from the situation in a safe way. This can be done by creating a distraction so that the other kids pay attention to that instead of the bullying act. Many times when there is no audience and support for the bully he/she stops the mean act.
If a friend begins to bully someone, don’t encourage the behavior by giving it an audience. Instead of laughing and supporting it, just let the bully know that they do not think it is entertaining nor amusing. Just don’t support it, leave.
Do not combat violence with violence.
Sleep’n Sync can help with challenges your child might be facing, such as bullying. Our programs are based on strong scientific research and best practices and are implemented in the convenience of the child’s bedroom while he or she sleeps. Simply choose the right program, download it and start tonight!