I’ve noticed that one of the more popular posts here is about bullying between siblings. The list of comments continues to grow. I see stories of exasperated parents, frustrated and hurt siblings (of all ages), concerned relatives, current problems, past problems, etc. Some have passed on insight while others are looking for answers.
Today I wanted to add to that sharing experience with a few extra tips. I found an article on this website, Public Safety Canada, with some good suggestions for many people involved in a bullying situation. When you click through, I hope you find what applies best to your situation. It’s one long list, so keep scrolling through the entire page.
Here it is again – Public Safety Canada – First Steps to Stop Bullying
Keep in mind that bullying has these four elements (quoted from the site):
- Unequal power: One child has more power than the other child (or at least it seems that way to the children involved)
- Hurtful actions: Physically or psychologically harmful behaviour takes place (see table page 2)
- Direct and indirect actions: The behaviour may be face-to-face or behind one’s back
- Repetitive behaviour: The hurtful actions keep happening so the child being hurt finds it more and more difficult to escape
If you are a parent with a bullying situation you can’t control well, you need backup. You may find that you need to go outside of your immediate family for support, and that is fine. It’s a lot better than continuing to struggle. Find a family friend, an adult in your extended family, or someone else your bullying child looks up to or at least interacts with regularly.
What this adult needs to be able to do is to demonstrate that they support your attempts to stop the bullying. Period. You may need them to come talk to your child, enforce a consequence, or just verbally support you in front of the child. They can also help by separating or supervising the children with the problematic interactions. Since a lot of bullying goes on in the dark corners, you almost can’t get too much help with this part. More supervision means you can reduce opportunities for problems.
Sometimes, this support person might be your shoulder to cry on at times. If they can’t be involved physically sometimes, it does you good to get their encouragement and privately blow off a little steam.
Please note that if you are one of the siblings being bullied (as an adult or a minor child), you need a support person, too! If you can find just one person to help you through this, you’ll feel less discouraged and more confident about the choices you need to make. If you have more than one person, great! But just one can make a huge difference.
Hang in there, folks. This is tough stuff. And I feel tremendous respect for anyone who chooses to share their story or questions here. I hope this blog gives you some strength and hope in your struggles.