Parenting is no child’s play. Ask any parent and they will tell you that it is a thankless job (at least until the time your kids grow up to have children of their own).

One of the most crucial yet extremely sensitive aspects of parenting is protecting your child against bullies. To hear your child come home crying or upset about someone else’s behaviour is not only incredibly frustrating but it leaves you feeling helpless as well.

This is the reason it is of utmost importance for parents to be able to differentiate between types of bullying. Being aware of the type of bullying can not only help you deal with the whole situation in a better manner but can also prepare you to help your child.

Here are the four most common types of bullying you must be aware of and how to deal with them:

1. Physical bullying

Physical bullying is the most common type of bullying. It happens when a bully who is bigger in size and strongly built, tries to intimidate the weaker one. It can include hitting, kicking, punching, tripping, blocking the way and even pulling the hair. It can also involve touching in an inappropriate way.

How to identify?

It is the most identifiable type of bullying. Parents should always be on a lookout for unexplained bruises and cuts since kids rarely ever tell their parents about what they are going through.

What can you do?

If you see that your child is refusing to go to school very vehemently and has unexplained stomach aches and headaches, it is time you probe deeper into it. Do not ask them straightaway, instead try to strike a normal conversation. You can also tell them about your bullying experiences in school and how you dealt with it. Have an open conversation with your child and instead of taking matters in your hand, try and enable your child to deal with it on his/her own.

But, do keep in mind that if repeated bullying incidents keep happening, you may need to alert the principal of the school and the class teacher.

2. Verbal bullying

Verbal bullying involves using hurtful words and statements, name-calling and even threatening. These cruel words and comments are made with the ultimate aim of hurting someone. The comments may include insults on someone’s physical appearance, sex, religion or even the way they behave. It also involves mocking the way someone talks.

How to identify?

Verbal bullying may not be as easy to recognise as physical bullying but there are a lot of silent signs and symptoms that can pinpoint towards it. Your child may start suffering from low-self-esteem and start withdrawing. He or she may also become really moody and sensitive.

What can you do?

First and foremost, you need to instill confidence in your child so that they know that they deserve to be treated well and be respected. If things get worse, you can always talk to the school counsellor and look for better ways to deal with verbal bullying. Teach your child how to stand up for himself/herself instead of teaching them to merely ignore the comments.

3. Cyberbullying

This type of bullying is the hardest to spot and probably the most dangerous one. Children and teens committing suicide in the name of so-called challenges, including Blue Whale and Momo challenge, is proof in itself that Internet can be a dark and unforgiving place. Cyberbullying can include anything from making threats online to sending hurtful and scary texts and emails.

How to identify?

Parents need to closely monitor the amount of time their child spends online. They also need to notice if the child is up on odd hours or spends an excessive amount of time online. Notice if the child has trouble sleeping or has stopped playing outside.

What can you do?

If you suspect that your child is being cyberbullied, first and foremost you need to strengthen the internet safety of your house. Set a time-limit on online activities that your kids can indulge in every day. Also, block potentially harmful websites before handing over any smart device to your child and keep a check on their online activities to stay prepared.

Talk to you child about cyberbullying and ensure them that they can inform whenever someone is bothering them. Teach them the option to block anyone who is bothering them straight away.

4. Relational bullying

This type of bullying is basically sneaky and shrewd in nature, in the sense that it involves excluding someone from being a part of the group, manipulating their reputation or spreading nasty rumours about them. This type of bullying can take place anywhere from the lunch table, playground to the classrooms. The bully often uses his/her own status in the group to demean or dominate someone else.

How to identify?

Pay close attention to how your child interacts with his peers. If your child has become a loner and does not want to indulge in any social activity, it could be a serious red flag.

What can you do?

Therapists always encourage to have a healthy discussion with your child about what all happened in the day. Make a routine to indulge in a conversation about how they are feeling about themselves and what makes them happy. Encourage them to follow their hobbies and develop their talents. Also, explain how bullies are the ones who require the most help because of their insecurities.


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