Posted in stressed children

How you and your child can cope with bullying

Posted by Dr Kathrine on 8 January 2014

Here is the second article on how to cope with bullying written by Dr Kathrine for Drynites Australia. They have asked me to share them with you. I was very happy to do so, please let me know if you are finding them useful as they have many to share.

Spotting the signs

Children can go to great lengths to hide the fact that they are being bullied.  They may do this because they are embarrassed or believe if they tell someone the situation will only get worse.  So how can you tell if your child is being bullied?
Keep in mind not all children who are being bullied will show warning signs and some of these behaviours may also be indicative of something else going on in your child’s life:

  • Look for changes in behaviour, an outgoing child who becomes withdrawn, a child who had achieved nighttime continence may start wetting the bed, or changes in eating habits
  • Increase in aggressive behaviours or bullying of siblings
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Increase in physical ailments like headaches or stomach aches, or pretending to be sick so they can stay home from school
  • Lost or destroyed property
  • Nightmares or sleep disturbances
  • Feelings of helplessness or low self-esteem
  • School avoidance or lack of interest in school work
  • Drop in academic performance
  • Reduced social contact with friends or loss of friendships

What should I do if my child is being bullied?

  •  Find out as much as you can about the situation (who is involved, how often it occurs, who knows about the bullying) then reassure your child that this is not their fault (bullying can be like a form of brainwashing where children begin to feel that they some how deserve what is happening).
  • Contact the preschool or school.  Ask to see the bullying policy and get the school to clearly outline how the situation will be managed.  Ensure that there are regular follow-up meetings until you have reached a positive resolution.
  • Get your child involved in activities that encourage independence, assertiveness and healthy peer relationships (e.g., sporting teams, cubs or scouts, dance, drama club).
  • Encourage your child to behave assertively in threatening situations by teaching them specific skills such as responding to name calling (having ready and rehearsed responses is always helpful), making assertive statements (“That’s fine if you think that but I do not agree”), and getting help from their peers (it is important that children feel they have someone who they can count on).

Encouraging your child to stand up for others

When victims of bullying do tell someone, it is most often their friends, followed by their parents, with teachers often being the last to know. Children who are witnesses to bullying are referred to as bystanders.  Bystanders have three main roles, they can assist and encourage the bully (bully assistant), they can passively watch the bullying (witnesses), or they can actively intervene to support the victim and try to stop the bullying (defenders).  Bullying, when confronted with a caring and responsive peer group is significantly reduced.

How can you better prepare your child to help and support victims or bullying? 

  •  Discuss with your child what they think bullying is and get them to think about how the victim feels when other children are mean to them.
  • Consider what forms of discouragement would be appropriate without making the situation worse or putting your child at risk.
  • Rehearse or role-play possible bullying scenarios.
  • Discuss how your child may get other children to show their disapproval with the bullying.
  • Talk about safe and unsafe situations, helping you child know when it is important to involve a teacher.
Posted in: being assertive bullying parenting tips anxiety stressed children getting along  

How to help your child manage worries and anxiety 2

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 19 October 2013
Some ideas for teaching children how to understand or manage their fears realistically, test their validity, and become less reactive to anxious feelings.

1. Make sure you understand the child's fear before trying to help them with it

Listen carefully to your child as she explains what's bothering her. Don't jump to conclusions -- and don't assume that saying "Don't worry" will help.
For children who are reluctant to explain their fears, it may be helpful to have them draw a picture.
You might ask him to rate the fear on a 10-point scale.
Don't discount the worry. Acknowledge the feelings while giving the child information. Age-appropriate books on the worrisome topic can help. A child with fears about storms, for example, might benefit from reading about lightning and other weather phenomena. Sam (named changed of course) was a 9 year old boy who had a fear of sharks. He would cry uncontrollably if he glimpsed a picture of one. His parents gave him as much information as possible about sharks and recently he even watched Jaws! He is currently looking forward to a school trip to Underwater World where he will have the opportunity to feed them.
Books about the worries of other children can be especially helpful. Having your child read about how another child dealt with similar fears can help to foster a discussion about worries.

2. Devise a technique the child can use to "banish" scary thoughts

Your child might imagine writing words on a whiteboard or tablet -- and then rubbing them out. Or he might imagine putting the scary thoughts in a box and putting it on a shelf or burying them in a hole or sealing them in a rocket and then blasting it into space. A younger child might feel better by having a “conversation” with a puppet who offers to take the worries for them.

3. Make up a plan to assist them in fearful situations

If your child dreads going to birthday parties for example you could get them to take one of their friends to the party so they don’t have to go in alone, Or you might plan an early leaving time, which can help a child feel that she has some control over the situation.

4. Teach relaxation techniques

Yoga, deep breathing, and other self-calming techniques are highly effective.
Some kids have developed their own ways to calm themselves when they feel worried. Ask them what they already do to self soothe. They might hug a pillow, listen to a recorded story or music, play with a pet or favourite toy. Remind them to do these things when worried as they might not realise that they have already devised their own strategies.
A parent that I have been working with recently told me about the following great set of books called Imaginations: Fun relaxation stories and meditations for kids by Carolyn Clarke

5. A couple of books about worries

Worried No More, by Aureen Pinto Wagner
Up and Down the Worry Hill, by Aureen Pinto Wagner
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst

Warm Regards,


Posted in: being assertive anxiety dealing with disappointments worried children stressed children  

How to help your children deal with disappointment, worries and stress

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 20 August 2013

No matter what, all children will encounter situations which are not to their liking. Knowing how to handle disappointments, stress, overwhelm and worry is a very big advantage when you are growing up as it can greatly assist in developing inner strength (otherwise known as resilience).

Following are some ideas to help children learn to distance themselves from the problem:

1. Stop the thoughts: Say to your child who is becoming overwhelmed by worries or a disappointment to stop thinking about it for a while. You can tell them to put them in an imaginary box for a while, let them know they can think about them again after morning tea or the next day.

2. Help them to start another activity that will distract them: go to the park, get active or read a book.

3. Take a break: If it is study, homework, an annoying sibling or anything else that they can take a break from, let them get away from the situation for a little while and then come back to it later. Help them find a special place to go for their breaks. It could be their room, sitting under a tree in the garden or a run around the yard.

4. Be on their page and be their positive side for them: Let them know that you understand they are feeling bad, and that you know they will feel better soon.
In my next few blogs I will be sharing some more ideas relating to helping children manage anxiety, worries and stress.

Posted in: dealing with disappointments worried children stressed children getting along  
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