Unfortunately military schools are not immune to the occasional incidence of bullying. Though this happens very infrequently, it does happen, more often than not through social media networks. Some military academies take the initiative and have their students sign an anti-bullying pact, or at least address the subject thorough mentoring and guest speakers. This helps to head off potential confrontations in their small communities, but there are other schools that are not as proactive. As parents we can be proactive however, and the following tips may be of great help to students experiencing bullying in military schools.
Listen to Your Child
If your child comes to you and says they are having problems with another student, take them seriously. Comments such as “toughen up” or “suck it up” are not acceptable solutions. Many parents view such circumstances as just a phase that will pass, but ignoring your child’s complaints could see them have to deal with a difficult, ongoing situation for a long period of time. Listen to them carefully, and discuss the situation with them patiently, openly, and constructively.
Be Aware of the Signs
Not all children speak up for fear of feeling humiliated or incapable of handling things themselves. Bullying is a problem that most adults have trouble handling, so self-reliance shouldn’t be expected of students of military schools. It is important to keep a close eye on your child’s behaviour and look out for signs of abuse such as; becoming withdrawn and unsociable, depressed, or avoiding activities they once enjoyed. All of these traits could be an indication that your child is the victim of bullying.
Teach Them Independence
If there is no danger of your child being harmed physically, teach them some skills they can use to deal with the bullying themselves. This will give them confidence and a sense of pride, and serve them throughout their entire life. It is quite natural to want to protect your child by dealing with or solving the problem for them, but it will better serve him or her if you teach them the skills they need to solve the problem themselves.
Console and Encourage Them
It is important not to allow your child to blame themselves for the bullying. Assure them that they are not to blame, as it is common for victims to sometimes fault themselves for the situation. Help them to place the blame where it belongs, on the bully.
Involve Other Adults
If the bullying continues in spite of you and your child’s efforts to deal with it, it might be time to involve others. All military schools have a school counselor, so you might want to make an appointment for you and your child to speak with them about the situation. Many are experienced in handling such situations, and they will be able to provide you with sound advice on what to do. If your child doesn’t want to speak with a counselor, approach a trusted teacher and explain the situation.
Teach Emotional Intelligence
Help your child learn to help the negative emotions associated with bullying by setting an example with your own behavior. Discuss with them and explain how you respond to strong feelings of fear, anger, or sadness. This can be a great help to victims of bullying, especially when they realize that you may very well respond the same way that they do in certain circumstances.
Because of the structured environments of military schools, incidences of bullying are rare. If they do occur however, it is important to validate your child’s feelings and work with them to resolve the situation. Encourage them to form strong friendships with other students so that they don’t feel isolated and alone. And most importantly, speak with your child about bullying before it occurs, so that they are prepared and capable of handling it if and when it does.