Welcome to our blog, where we dive into an important topic close to every parent’s heart: bullying. It’s a pervasive issue affecting our children, and we understand the concern it sparks in every caregiver’s mind. Here, we’re delighted to introduce you to Rania Hussant, a Certified Mindful Parent Educator & Life Coach.

Dr. Hussant joins us to share invaluable insights on bullying and offers guidance on empowering ourselves to support our children through these challenging situations. Let’s explore together how we can navigate this sensitive subject and equip ourselves with the tools to create a safer, more resilient environment for our kids.

1.How can I approach the topic of bullying with my child in a way that doesn’t make them feel uncomfortable or scared?
Provide the child with the safe space to feel comfortable enough and at ease to have open discussions about different and important topics in their lives, not only bullying. Depending on age groups any quiet safe place would work. For older children, the car serves as a great place to discuss delicate topics since the atmosphere is usually casual and easy going. It is important to be mindful of your emotions as a parent and assess what is coming up for you as you discuss it. Children usually attract our vibes. If we are worried and tense they will also reflect that.

2.What are the signs that my child might be experiencing bullying, and how can I recognize them?
The top four signs that can be easily recognized are:
a. Emotional Changes: sudden and unexplained emotions shifts in the child: like being withdrawn, anxious, reluctance to go to school, and mood swings. This will also affect the child’s social interaction.
b. Physical Changes: Frequent headaches, stomachaches, and physical scratches, torn clothes or injuries.
c. Academic decline: A sudden decline in the child’s academic progress and loss of interest in school.
d. Changes in sleep and eating patterns: look for signs of insomnia and for signs of over or under eating habits.

3.How do I create a safe and open space for my child to talk about their experiences without judgment?
To create a safe space for the child to open up and share their troubles with you a sa parent provide the following: a. Accept all mistakes and take these as learning opportunities. Remain calm.
b. Listen to understand how the child is feeling and what is happening rather than judging.
c. Ask open ended questions and give the child the time and space to express himself.
d. Acknowledge all emotions that surface.
e. Do role-play to help the child navigate the feelings and to find ways to solve the issue.
f. Involve the school/authorities if needed and follow up on the matter.
g. Make the child sense and experience your full support kindness and love.

4.Can you provide tips for teaching my child to stand up to bullying and seek help when needed?
First and foremost teach assertiveness: you can engage in role-playing to practice the scenario at home. Teach your child use sentences like “Stop. That is not OK.” and reflect a sense of confidence as s/he says it. The more they practice the more comfortable and assertive they feel. It is also fundamental they understand how to protect their safety in front of any physical aggression and to report to an adult immediately or to social media platforms in case it was cyber-bullying.

5.What should I do if my child is the one engaging in bullying behavior, and how can I address this issue?
This is a very big topic and the answer to it might be complicated or simple. The main idea is to know the root cause of the behavior: Am I as a parent displaying a bully attitude at home? If not, is my child hanging out with a gang of bullies?
The steps to follow:
– Be calm
– Gather information
– Have open conversations to understand what it behind the behavior
– Educate your child on bullying and the negative impact it has on the child and others
-Set clear consequences for the child – Be empathetic and hold the child accountable for the behavior
– Involve the school
– Seek professional help.

6. Are there specific strategies for addressing cyberbullying, and how can I help my child stay safe online?
First step is to educate children to be aware and conscious of what to post on social media. This is a skill that needs time to build and it forms the basic stepping stone to avoid being bullied online. Help them learn to think before they post. Provide them with a safe space to always come back to you especially when they make mistakes. Set clear boundaries on when and how long they can be on social media. Some parents also prefer using parenting control apps – I personally prefer to teach my children to become responsible by their own will. Teach them online etiquette; how to chat with others, how to stop themselves from being involved in hurtful chats online. Teach them to connect to their inner intuition – whatever does not feel OK on the inside tells that an end limit be placed.

7. What resources or support systems can I access to help my child deal with bullying effectively?
School counselors – therapists – anti-bullying campaigns – workshops – self-help books – and the parents

8. Can you share some tips on how to encourage empathy and kindness in my child to prevent bullying?
Empathy and kindness are high executive functioning skills that need time and maturity of the brain to develop properly: To install these as habits first: What are parents modeling? How do we respond to our children and others? Encourage children to do acts of kindness; donate, send kind words/letters to family members Engage in volunteer actions Discuss how unkindness leads to suffering and negativity

9. How can I work with my child’s school or community to create a bullying-free environment and promote awareness about this issue?
Organize workshops and invite experts in the field and discuss all forms of bullying. Use art and acting to display how bullying looks and feels like. Promote awareness campaigns. Encourage schools to hold collective social events to display the effects of bullying on others.