Bullying, racism and discrimination still exists amongst our little ones. It can be detrimental to a child’s mental health and can result in complete isolation. Even the things that may not seem like a “big deal” to us, can really affect our children in a big way.
My daughter is in the first grade, and she is the only black child in her classroom. She was bullied by a couple of kids in her class, and it was an extremely difficult time for her. I felt helpless; I didn’t know what I could possibly do to make her feel better. She stood up for herself and didn’t think she had to tell me right away because the teachers are encouraging the children to problem solve.
I made sure to let her know that she can tell me anything and that she has lots of support around her. I’m also making sure that even if she doesn’t want to speak to me, maintaining good relationships with extended family and friends is very important; she can call them anytime. Now my daughter and I read motivational stories and affirmation poems before bedtime, and we act out scenarios on how she should react towards different situations. It has been very helpful. She has been more confident, but that doesn’t mean the battle is over. We still have to fight to make sure that her voice is heard and that she is respected.
Here are some tips to find out if your child is being bullied:
– develop relationships with the teachers and the principal and communicate on a regular basis.
– Ask your children specific questions about their day. ex. “What happened during lunch today?”
-Observe your child’s body language. Sometimes children tell you things without actually speaking.
– If you have multiple children, is he/she getting the attention they need?
– Try to empathize with your children. Something so small to us can be a huge problem later on for them.
– Ask your child who their friends are and pay attention to who they play with on a regular basis.
Finally, advocate for your children. It’s so important, and it’s something they will always remember.