Some statistics say that up to 60 percent of people have been bullied or know someone that has been bullied, so you and your child are not alone. Early intervention for bullying is the best way to avoid long-term damage, both physical and emotional.
Handling bullying as a parent can be a tough situation to navigate, yet if done properly it can have an amazingly positive impact for your child. When it comes to bullying, parents should openly communicate to their kids the importance of not being a bully, how to identify bullying, and what to do if you encounter it.
Proactive Prevention, the Critical Foundation
Children should understand what bullying is and how to handle it from an early age. While it’s important for parents to know how to react to bullying once it occurs, it is critical to avoid bullying before it even begins. This starts with educating your kids and creating open and honest communication with them. There are three main topics to establish through your communication:
- Don’t be a bully. Teaching your kids how to not be a bully themselves is the first step. Identify what bullying is and how to avoid it.
- Stand up for others. Talk to your children about how they can and should play an active role in combating bullying.
- How to react if they themselves are bullied. Make sure your kids are prepared for the realities of bullying.
Reactively Countering Bullying
Once you have set your child up with the right tools, it’s important that you as a parent are prepared as well. Knowing the right way to communicate with the school, club or team where bullying occurs is the first step. From there you can effectively advocate for your child and get the results your child needs.
If your children have told you that they are being bullied, you should act immediately by contacting the teacher, coach, club faculty advisor, etc. You might also sense that they are being bullied but they haven’t reached out to you about it. In this case, you should create a safe environment for communication while also contacting the teacher.
Staying calm is easier said than done but it’s necessary when you want the best outcome. Lay out the facts with the teacher and discuss a plan of action. Once the plan is in place, continue fostering open communication with your child. If the bullying doesn’t end in a timely manner then you should escalate from talking to the teacher to having a dialogue with school authorities.
As a parent of a bullied child you might feel helpless at times. The bullying will likely occur when you are not there to intervene and you need to trust that the school is taking proper action. Once the school has become aware of the situation and the facts, you should expect the school to implement a plan of action. This should entail the teacher and/or administration reaching out to the bully’s parents and enforcing consequences for the actions. The school should also provide increased supervision and education about bullying to students.
Remaining calm and providing non-emotional information to the school will render the best results. Most schools have established policies and mandates for handling bullying in varying stages. You should present information like the frequency of the bullying, who is involved, what the bullying entails, whether it’s verbal or physical, if it has escalated and how.
Making sure that the school takes the situation seriously and acts swiftly is important and this is what you should focus on as a parent. Let the school implement the actions, but do your part by continuing to check on the status with teachers and administration while also getting feedback from your child.
You and your child should never feel hopeless when it comes to bullying. Educate your child and empower yourself to work with the school to end the bullying and prevent it for others.