Some things never change and others change for the worse. Face to face bullying is “alive and well” but cyberbullying is also packing its punch. What can you do when the bully’s got their eye on your grandchild?
Several of my children were bullied. A couple of them had birth-defects which affected their speech, breathing, and appearance. Another was mildly autistic. I kept one of them home for schooling until her freshman year.
Bullying wasn’t as addressed when I was young. Now, public school systems sink lots of time, money, and instruction into eradicating this scrouge of our society. However, people are people and there will always be those who see themselves superior to others. One of my grandsons must take medication each day. If he misses, he can become gloomy and irritable. At first, the bullies gathered to pick at him in hopes to set him off. Sometimes they were successful.
However, as time went by, other students took compassion on him and began to accompany him in the lunchroom and out on the playground. Why? Partly because of their teacher’s awareness and partly from my daughter’s not-so-quiet insistence. And lastly, from my personal visits to the principal’s office.
I had years of parenting and anti-bullying experience and I spoke to the principal as if my grandson were my son. I knew his rights, the school policies and the laws concerning harassment. However, there are new bullies which none of us grandparents faced in our younger years. They’re on the internet.
Protection From Those Hiding Behind the Screen
Social media sites can connect us in the most endearing ways yet crush with the fiercest blows to self-esteem. How do we deal with the cyberbully?
- Communication is key. Check with your grandkids frequently. Is there anyone in their internet circle that scares them, asks too many personal questions or desires to meet them?
- Are there those who repeatedly belittle and insult their appearance or intelligence? Remember that real-life bullies from school may find your grandchild on social media and continue with their harassment.
- Discuss each situation with your children and develop a plan to curb the abuse. Include your grandchild so he or she knows the entire family is pulling for them and will take action as necessary.
Lastly, address any other authorities that may be helpful. The pastor of your church, scout leader or extra-curricular instructor may offer suggestions or even know of the situation. The more that involve themselves, for the sake of your grandchild, the more likely the bullying will end.
If your grandchild is being bullied, don’t just sympathize do your best to take action.