BULLY PROOFING YOUR CHILD
TRUE LOVE Magazine East Africa|March 2020
BULLY PROOFING YOUR CHILD
You may not always be present to protect your kids from bullies, but you can provide them with essential coping mechanisms that will help them build the required resilience to not allow bullying to ruin their lives.
ALISON SIFUMA

From those ‘kichwa kubwa kama drum ya maji’ (you have a big head like a drum) comments from your elder siblings to heart-wrenching stories like the Alliance High school saga where form one students were reported to be beaten up with sticks and electricity cables, forced to lie on the graves of the school’s founders for hours on end at night and to ‘swim’ on grass, bullying commands a national level of concern.

These cases clearly show that no matter how well you raise your kids or where you live, your child can become the victim of bullying.

HOW TO KNOW YOUR CHILD HAS BEEN BULLIED

Physical evidence can be clear as day from unexplainable bruises to broken bones. The mental ones are the ones that are hard to see and may lead to problems such as depression and anxiety. Some of the unseen symptoms are:

  • All of a sudden your child is terrified of school, grades decline and they lose interest in schoolwork.

  • The one-time life of the party suddenly develops a phobia for any gathering and is often distressed. They may start self-harming.

  • They try as much as possible to stay close to adults and are suddenly losing all of their friends.

  • Lost or destroyed books, gadgets or clothes.

  • Frequent illness or faking illness.

  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating.

  • Frequent nightmares and sleeping difficulties.

So how do you take ownership and ensure your child does not fall victim to bullying? Child self-esteem expert Todd Gaster says, ‘It’s a matter of building a confident and resilient child at home.’ You may not be able to stop the bullies from coming, but you can teach your child to skillfully handle the situation themselves. Here are tips on how to do just that:

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March 2020