Bullyproofing Your Child
Bullying is not a normal rite of passage. It can have serious consequences. You can help your chld learn how to prevent bullying. These tips can help:
- Help your child understand bullying. Explain what bullying is. It is more than physcial, it can be done in person or over the phone or computer.
- Keep open lines of communication with your child. Check in with your child and listen to any concerns about friends and other students.
- Encourage your child to pursue their interests. Doing what they love may help your child be more confident among their peers and make friends with other kids with similar interests.
- Teach your child to take a stand against bullying. Give guidance about how to stand up to those who bully if it is safe to do so.
- Talk to your child about seeking help from a trusted adult when feeling threatened by a bully. Talk about whom they should go to for help and role-play what they should say. Assure your child that they should not be afraid to tell an adult when someone they know is being bullied.
- Know what is going on in your child's school. Visit the school website, join their parent groups and get on their electronic mailing list. Get to know other parents, school counselor, principal and staff.
What To Do When Bullying Occurs
Children often do not tell their parents that they are being bullied because they are embarrassed or frightened. If you suspect your child is being bullied or your child brings it up, consider these steps.
- Talk with your child. Focus on your child. Express your concern and make it clear you want to help.
- Empathize with your chlid. Say bullying is wrong, that it is not their fault, and that you are glad they had the courage to tell you about it.
- Work together to find solutions. Ask your child what they think will help. Reassure them that the situation can be handled privately.
- Document ongoing bullying. Work with your child to keep a record of all bullying incidents. It is involves cyberbullying, keep a record of all messages or postings.
- Help your child develop strategies and skills for handling bullying. Provide suggestions for ways to respond to bullying, and help your child gas confidence by rehearsing their responses.
- Be persistent. Bullying may not be resolved overnight.
- Stay vigilant to other possible problems that your child may be having. Some of the warning signs may be signs of other serious problems. Share your concerns with the counselor at your child's school.
Working With Your Child's School
Parents are often reluctant to report bullying to school officials, but bullying may not stop without the school's help. Parents should never be afraid to call the school to report that their child is being bullied and ask for help to stop the bullying.
- Know the school policies.
- Open the line of communication. Call or set up and appointment to talk to your child's teacher or counselor and establish a partnership to stop the bullying.
- Get help for your child. Seek advice from your child's schoool counselor. They may be able to help your child cope with the stress of being bullied.
- Commit to making the bullying stop. Talk regularly with your child and with school staff to see if the bullying has stopped.
What Not To Do
- Never tell your child to ignore bullying. What the child may hear is that you are going to ignore it. Be supportive and gather information about the bullying. Often, trying to ignore bullying allows it to become more serious.
- Do not blame your child for being bullied. Do not assume your child did something to provoke the bullying.
- Do not encourage your child to harm the person who is bullying them. It could get your child hurt, suspended or expelled.
- Do not contact the parents of the students who bullied your child. It may make matters worse. School officials should contact the parents of the children involved.
- Do not demad or expect a solution on the spot. Indicate you would like to follow up to determine the best course of action. Also, be aware that the law limits the ability of school personnel from revealing disciplinary actions taken against other students. Just because they cannot tell you if or how another student was disciplined, does not mean action was not taken.
Signs That Your Child is Being Bullied
- Comes home with damaged or missing clothingin or other belongings
- Reports losing items such as books, electronics, clothing, or jewelry
- Has unexplained injuries
- Complains frequently of headaches, stomach aches, or feeling sick
- Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
- Has changes in eating habits.
- Hurts themselves
- Are very hungry after school form not eating lunch
- Runs away from home
- Loses interest in visiting or talking with friends
- Is afraid of going to school or other activities with friends
- Loses interest in school work, or begins to do poorly in school
- Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious or depressed when they come home
- Talks about suicide
- Feels helpless
- Often feels like they are not good enough
- Suddenly has fewer friends
- Avoids certain places
- Acts differently than usual
Signs That Your Child is Bullying Others
- Becomes violent with others
- Gets into physical or verbal fights with others
- Gets sent tot he principal's office or detention a lot
- Has extra money or new belongings that cannot be explained
- Is quick to blame others
- Will not accept responsibility for their actions
- Has friends who bully others
- Needs to win or be best at everything.