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Bullying and loneliness

A child reads a message from bullies on the mobile phone and cries while the other children mock and laugh.

Bullying

Bullying can occur at school, during leisure time, during hobby activities and, more and more often, online and on social media. Your child may being bullied or bullying others, even when they are alone in their room. Bullying refers to intentionally and repeatedly making someone feel bad. Often, the person being bullied is, in some way, in a weaker position and cannot properly defend themselves against the bullies.

Bullying can be verbal, indirect or physical, or it can take place through a mobile phone, for example. Read more about bullying on the KiVa school pages (in Finnish). Bullying can be, for example, repeatedly calling someone names, pushing them around, excluding them from a group and spreading photos of them without their permission. In addition to the bully and the person being bullied, the rest of the group may be involved in the bullying in different ways. Some support the bully by helping and encouraging them, others remain silent and accept the situation, and some support the bullied person. Learn more about the different roles in a group on the KiVa School pages (in Finnish).

As a parent you can help your child respect others. Encourage your children to tell an adult if they see or experience bullying. Standing by a bullied person is brave and the right thing to do. Ask your child how they are doing at school and with whom they tend to spend time. This shows that you are interested in your child’s everyday life. It also helps the child bring up any potential loneliness or bullying. KiVa School pages have many good tips on what you can do at home to support abullied child and to counter bullying (in Finnish).

 

What should you do if your child is bullied online or through a mobile phone Source: KiVa School

  • Tell your child that they do not need to open any messages from their bully or an unknown sender.
  • It is recommended that messages from bullies are not answered, except for one time with a short and calm message.
  • If you find out that the person who sent the message attends the same school as your child, contact the school personnel.
  • If the bullying continues, you should consider changing the child’s email address or phone number.
  • If necessary, you can save the bullying messages or keep a record of them down in order to take the matter further.

You can also change the settings in the child’s inbox so that any messages from a certain senders are sorted directly into their own file and your child does not have to read them.

Preventing bullying 

Support group approach to stop bullying 

Bullying – building resiliency in the child 

 

A lonely and sad child is looking at their mobile phone.

Loneliness

Loneliness is a very sad feeling. There may be many reasons for loneliness. You can help and support your own child if they are left alone. Even if your child has friends, it is still good to encourage them to sometimes also talk to classmates who spend break times alone. By getting to know others, they may find new friends and lessen the loneliness of others. Excluding someone from a group is bullying, and you can read more about it above.

Being alone and loneliness are not the same thing. Even if your child spends a great deal of their time alone, they can still be content. It does not always mean that they are experiencing loneliness or have no friends. Therefore, you should speak to your child. For example, you can ask if they have fun during break time or when they are at home.  

If your child is experiencing loneliness and tells you about it, this will have taken plenty of courage. Thank your child for their courage and trust. Believe them and take the experience seriously. Support from a parent is important to a child.

 

It is possible for an adult to alleviate and lessen the loneliness experienced by a young person or a child in many ways. Source: The Finnish Association for Mental Health

1. Loneliness is often such a painful feeling that talking about it may be difficult. Bring the matter up discreetly.

2. Encourage the child or young person and help them to see their strengths. Remember to tell them that their loneliness is not their fault. Give them hope that the situation will change.

3. At school, the teachers should use teaching methods that make it easier to get to know others and encourage the pupils to get along with everyone.

4. Practise social skills and getting know others together, both at school and home. For example, you can think about how and where to get know others and how to start conversations.

5. Discuss loneliness with a school class, for example. How would it feel to be excluded from a group, to be lonely and rejected? What would you like the others to do in that kind of situation?



29.10.2020 13:35

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