Summer camp is great for kids. G-r-e-a-t. They get to run around, get dirty and burn off all that pent-up energy. We moms get a break for a few hours — yay! Sometimes, though, your child can get teased or harassed by another kid. Some of that is inevitable, and hopefully our little ones learn to stand up for themselves. BUT: Bullying does happen too, and we moms need to know what to do about it.
Be Alert to Warning Signs
If your child doesn’t tell you outright that he or she is being bullied, pay attention if you notice they are starting to act differently. Ask if someone is being mean to them. If they say yes, here’s my mom-to-mom advice.
Hearing that your child is being bullied is scary and very upsetting. You might want to flip out — don’t. Remain calm. You don’t want to act rash or upset your child any more than they already are. If you act like an adult and handle the situation as such, you will have better results.
Call Or Visit The Camp
Contact the adults at the day camp and discuss what is happening. Explain the change that you have noticed in your child. Give the most specific details possible — the more you can tell them the better. Ask them what specific actions they will take and when. Tell them you are expecting to hear from them within 24 hours to confirm that these actions have been taken.
Teach Your Child How To Neutralize The Bully
When a bully begins his or her “tactics”, most of the time he or she (yes, there are girl bullies!) is looking for some sort of fear or heightened response. Your child can be proactive and take that away from the bully simply by not reacting to the taunts or walking away from the entire situation. Once the bully sees that he or she is not going to get your child to cry or be fearful of them, most will leave them alone.
What If It Gets Physical?
If the bullying is resulting in physicality, tell the camp advisors immediately. Do not delay. Insist that are present when the bully is made to apologize to your child. Also insist that the bully’s parents are notified of the incident. Tell the advisors that you expect confirmation within 24 hours that this has been done. Be assertive. You are protecting your child.
I’m Here For You, Honey
Being bullied is frightening. The worst part is if a child thinks he or she has to go through it alone. Letting your child know that you are there for them is vital to his or her reaction now and in the future. Once they know that you are being supportive and are on their side, they will know they can trust that you will help them sort through scary situations in the future.
Day camp is meant to be fun — and most of the time, it’s a blast. A big dose of playtime and sun-soaked memories. But for those rare moments when a bully enters the picture, it can destroy those wonderful memories for your child. If you are there for them and support them in standing up for themselves, they will emerge stronger from the whole experience.