Bullying. Unfortunately, this problem seems to be growing in schools these days. Fortunately, more schools are becoming more adept at handling the problem.
What should a parent do when her child comes home from school in tears as a result of a bully? The bully doesn’t have to be using physical force to pick on another child; words can cut just as deep and hurt just as much. What if it is your child who is the victim of the bully?
First, if your child shares with you what is happening at school, feel so grateful. A lot of children who are victims to bullying often do not share their hurt or fright with their parents. So, if your child openly admits to being bullied, remind him how proud you are of him for even telling you what is occurring.
Second, let your child know that you need to contact the school. This is essential in helping to stop the bully in his or her tracks. The school must be notified and you need to insist that something be done to stop the bullying. I say that you should insist, because there are certain schools that would still sweep this problem under the rug and not deal with it. Every school should have a bullying policy. If not, you need to speak to your board of education and ask why. Regardless, you need to insist that the school handle the problem at school.
Third, as a parent you need to talk to your child about bullying. So your child is a victim of a bully, discuss it and work together on skills to use if the bullying happens again. As a parent you should be teaching your child that if a bully approaches him or her, to simply tell the bully to stop and then walk away. Nothing else. To try to reason with or talk back to a bully simply tells the bully that your child is feeding into what he is saying or doing. It gives the bully the power. If your child tells him to stop and walks away with his head held high, your child takes the power from the bully and puts it on himself. Your child has the power in this situation. Teach this to your child; practice it with him. The more he knows how to respond, the better.
After your child walks away from a bully, teach your child to tell an adult, especially an adult at school. Your child will hopefully always tell you about the issue, but he should most definitely let the staff at school know. School staff should have a bully plan in place to help deal with it. I will discuss what schools should be doing tomorrow in my blog.
Being bullied at school can lower a child’s self-esteem and may even run much deeper than that. I can’t stress enough how important it is for a child who is bullied to have support from home and school. A parent is the best advocate for their child. If you feel your child’s bullying at school isn’t being handled correctly, say something. Speak up, but do it in a calm and reasonable fashion. Children need to feel safe at school, both physically and emotionally. As a parent we need to teach the skills to handle bullying situations, we also need to hold the school accountable for stopping the bullying before it leads to something much worse. Tune in tomorrow for what schools should be doing to prevent bullying.