5 simple ways to prevent your child from secretly bullying other kids in school

When you think of bullying, you might think of violent attacks or constant name calling. But there's a more sinister type of bullying that is often undetected by teachers and parents. It's called relational aggression, or social exclusion. Kids become very coy and manipulative when they're in school. In fact, your child might be doing this without realising it.

So what is relational aggression?

WHY TEACHING YOUR KIDS WHAT IS RELATIONAL AGGRESSION CAN HELP PUT A STOP TO BULLYING

Mummy, school is a completely different ball game when it comes to social development. Your children have a tough job navigating a new social world when they reach school. New social circles are established and they'll have to make friends all over again.

Your kids have an innate desire to please other people to earn their acceptance. However, peer pressure can lead them to do harmful things to others to get this approval. Common signs of relational aggression are your typical name-calling, cyberbullying, making fun of how others look and gossiping behind other people's backs. However, there's a subtle type of bullying that takes place in small doses and is not easily picked up by adult supervisors.

Picture your child reluctant to leave your car every morning but unable to explain why he's hesitant to go to school. Then imagine him sitting at lunch and break times all alone.

Being excluded from groups is a passive-aggressive type of bullying, but it chips away at your child's confidence. In fact, your child might be excluding others from playing in the same group because a clique has already been formed at this point.

Mummy, it's heartbreaking to think that your child might be upset and on his own because of how he looks, or some other reason that children make up to exclude him from groups. It can happen to any child. But you can take steps to raise your little one to be kind and compassionate to his peers.

Here are some suggestions to help you teach him how to be inclusive of others.

5 WAYS TO ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO BE MORE INCLUSIVE

1. GET USED TO ASKING YOUR CHILD HOW HIS DAY WAS

It sounds simple. But being curious about his day shows you care about your little one. As you continue to do so, he will learn to show the same level of care to others.

2. TEACH YOUR CHILD TO EMPATHISE

Your little one might come home with a story of how Timmy was mean to him and said his nose is very big. It's tempting to come up with a scathing remark of your own, but teaching your child to empathise will help nurture compassion.

It can sound like "oh dear, poor you! You must feel sad right now". This teaches your child to look from someone else's perspective and understand emotions better. Doing so minimises the likelihood that your little one will exclude others and instead, empathise with them instead.

3. EVERYONE IS MADE EQUAL

PHOTO: Pixabay

Teach your child to embrace diversity. Social exclusion, even unintentional, can happen when a group decide that a child's features, ethnic or otherwise, are too different from their own. Explain to your child from a young age that although people might look or speak differently, everyone should be treated with the same respect.

4. SPEAK KIND THINGS, AND REFRAIN FROM SAYING BAD THINGS

Cyberbullying can lead to intentional social inclusion. Online gossip can lead to humiliation and cause other children to avoid the victim because of these harmful rumours. Instead, speak to your child about how to use digital media and online forums in a healthy way.

5. MAKE NEW FRIENDS

PHOTO: Pixabay

Encourage your child to approach other kids who seem to be sat on their own and aren't playing with anyone. This is a proactive approach to being inclusive and your little one will make a new friend along the way!

Mummy, keep a lookout for signs that your child might be excluded from social circles in school, or if he is excluding others. Relational aggression can happen without adults realising. But teaching him how to be kind can be done at home and transferred into the school setting.

This article was first published in The Asian Parent

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