Today’s post on How to help Your Child with anxiety caused by bullying is from Becky Goddard-Hill
Becky is a children’s therapist and wellbeing author.
Becky’ s most recent book is an activity book for 6-12 year olds called Create Your Own Calm. The activities are fun and teach kids empowering ways to manage their big, uncomfortable feelings such as fear, anger and anxiety.
Bullying can have long term huge impacts on kid’s mental health and wellbeing and it is so important that it is stopped as soon as possible to minimise the impact.
As the adult and caregiver in this situation you need to take a strong and firm stance against this and be your child’s formidable advocate in regard to this, get support to do this if need be but do act. It is never okay and it must never just be tolerated.
The practical steps you need to take will be outlined in your schools policy but take a look here at the NSPCC resources if you need guidance of on what practical steps to take.
Empowering our kids
Being bullied can make children feel frightened, nervous, anxious, embarrassed. It can make them feel weak, unpopular and powerless.
As much as was parents need to help the bullying stop we also need to support our child with the anxiety and low self-esteem being bullied can leave behind.
Here are a few ways in which we can help our children feel stronger and more robust after such events.
- Teaching children to name their feelings and be open about what is going on for them is really important. It stops them bottling things up (which can leads to meltdowns or depression) and it reduces tension. Naming feelings has also been shown to help kids think more clearly because it enable the brain to relax a little having labelled what is happening. Plus we are far more able to help our kids if we know how they feeling.
Lead by example by openly discussing feelings, create space and privacy for them to talk, a journal to write out their feelings and ask them how they feel and listen really well to what they have to say, even if it is painful for you.
2. Give your kids lots of positive feedback and lots of opportunities to do well. Encourage them to bake, look after a houseplant, invest in their hobbies so they feel capable and proud of their achievements.
Encourage them to spend time with people they love and get on well with so they know they can have great relationships and are reminded of how likeable they are. Every positive interaction will help.
3. Encourage your kids to be problem solvers not problem dwellers. Have them come up with a goal. It might be ‘To feel more confident’ or to ‘make new friends’
Once they have figured out their goal have them write it in the middle of a piece of paper.
And put a circle around it -then help them come up with lots of idea about how they can reach this goal and write them down too.
Ideas might include try some positive affirmations, perhaps have a new friend over for play (in the garden!) perhaps they could help a younger child read at school or join a new club? Come up with lots of ideas then help them pick one to try and make a plan to put it into action.
Not all the ideas will work but that is okay because you have lots and can just keep trying new things till something works. The aim is for your child to focus on what they CAN do to feel better and to realise they are always capable of moving forward and addressing their problems (with you side by side).
One of the best ways through anxiety is to keep on going with your life. We need to remind our kids they are likeable, they are strong and fabulous and that they have many options. Be their best cheerleader and help them move forward.
Becky Goddard-Hill can be found blogging at Emotionally Healthy Kids and A Beautiful Space Her previous books include the best-selling Create Your Own Happy and her happiness book for teens Be Happy Be You
All her books are available from Amazon & Waterstones.
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