A Guide for Parents and Carers

Bullying is a painful experience that many of us have encountered at some point in our lives.

Whether we’ve been on the receiving end or have witnessed it, the impact can be profound.

In these difficult moments, it’s crucial to approach the issue with compassion, avoiding blame and shame.  In this blog, we’ll provide families with some compassionate strategies to help if your child is experiencing bullying.

Mindful Tip No.1 – Nurturing Awareness

As caregivers, our children’s well-being is of paramount importance. However, fostering a space of open and honest communication is essential for them to feel truly understood and acknowledged. This isn’t about having all the answers; it’s about creating a safe haven where young people can openly share their experiences of bullying.

In the midst of our busy lives, it’s important to make time for these conversations. By showing our willingness to listen, children feel encouraged to confide in us without fear. Often, they struggle to put their feelings into words, making it all the more vital for us to recognise subtle shifts in their emotions.

Young people often communicate more easily using technology – perhaps sending them a check-in message on their phone might help them open up about something that is bothering them.  Even if they can’t put it into words, communicate using emojis or gifs to help them express what they are experiencing and start a mindful conversation.

 

Mindful Tip No.2 – Open Communication

Our Connected Kids program emphasizes the importance of communication that comes from a place of compassion. Speaking from the heart means expressing our feelings sincerely, prioritising emotional connection over offering immediate solutions. Sharing our concerns and reaffirming our love for our children lays the foundation for a meaningful conversation.

Speaking with a calm and tender tone (rather than a lecturing or authoritarian one) is essential. It’s easy to assume that our kids understand our emotions and intentions implicitly. However, explaining our reasons for our decisions and actions bridges this gap, allowing them to perceive our actions with an awareness of how much we care about them.

Mindful listening requires that each participant takes turns to speak, fostering mutual respect. With older children who may be hesitant to listen, a compassionate heart is our ally! It’s important not to be triggered or react to what they say.  Try practicing deep breathing (eg belly breathing – see video below) while they share their thoughts will help us manage our emotional reactions, prevent interruptions, and project our own thoughts onto their responses.

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Mindfulness Tip No. 3 – Respond (don’t react)

Keeping our composure can be challenging, especially when we learn that our child has experienced or witnessed bullying. The instinct to protect and shield them is powerful, reminiscent of a “mama or papa bear” response. While this instinct is valid, bear in mind that mindfulness awareness and open communication can yield a more powerful outcome.

Before taking action, it’s a powerful practice to ask your child what they would like you to do, if anything at all.

Sometimes, they may need a listening ear more than an immediate solution. Should they need intervention, discussing the possibility of involving the school or relevant authorities in an inclusive manner helps them feel empowered and part of the decision-making process.

Empowering your child to address bullying directly is a significant step. Role-playing scenarios can help develop their self-confidence and assertiveness. Remember, this takes time and patience.

Back to School: How to deal with Bullying

As children head back to school, it’s important to recognise that bullying issues might become more common. Changes in how they interact with others, combined with the mix of emotions when reuniting with friends, can sometimes lead to bullying.

This is a crucial moment to use the mindful caring methods mentioned earlier. By paying attention to how our kids are feeling and encouraging open conversations, we can help them handle these tough situations with strength and kindness.

Still looking for answers?

Speak to an expert…if you need to talk, please remember you can Connect to us.  Lorraine E Murray, the founder of the Connected Kids program, offers connect calls to help you find out more.

Discover the Connected Kids program…

coloured print hand - connected kids - teach kids meditation and mindfulness

 

 

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