As a parent or teacher, you want to provide protection and a positive atmosphere for your child or student. But what is the best way to accomplish this? How do you build confidence in your child, a willingness to confide when the child feels intimidated, and provide a safe atmosphere in which the child can grow and thrive? And where can the concerned parent or teacher turn for advice? Discover the most essential Anti Bullying Information!
Collaboration and Communication
It’s important for parents and schools to collaborate on establishing lines of communication and providing a means for children to let adults know when there is bullying going on:
- Develop a dialogue – parents must interact with teachers.
- Establish trust – ensure that children feel comfortable reporting problems.
- Offer support – children need to know they don’t have to handle this on their own.
- Take bullying seriously – it’s not just bickering; sometimes it can become a life or death issue.
- Don’t confront – let authorities handle it; don’t confront the bully or his/her parents.
- If you see bullying, report it – don’t ignore it; make sure it’s addressed.
- Provide resources – parents need to know there is an established policy on bullying.
- Be involved – be a part of your child’s school; know what’s going on.
As a parent, it’s always a positive step to be involved in school functions and parent-teacher organizations. It is also important that your child participate in school activities, sports, or academic pursuits. This gives the child a feeling of acceptance and involvement. If it takes extra effort on your part to help your child integrate properly into his or her school environment, then it is imperative that you take the time to do so. Socialization is key to being a part of the school and developing social skills.
If none of these tactics work, and your child is still experiencing bullying, then you will have to make sure any bullying incidents are reported and turn to the authorities to resolve the matter. When your child experiences a bullying incident, there is a process that you as a parent should take to ensure that the incident is handled properly.
Follow the Proper Steps
Consult any literature your school may have distributed regarding anti bullying information or procedures. Report the incident in accordance with those rules. Proceed up the chain of command, i.e., report first to the child’s teacher, then the school counselor, and principal, if necessary. If you still haven’t received a resolution, go to the school district’s superintendent and the school board. If you feel it is necessary, your next step may be to retain an attorney to protect your and your child’s interests (especially if there is any illegal conduct involved, i.e. theft, assault, battery, etc.).
You may want to familiarize yourself with anti bullying information and websites available online. There are sites that help families cope with bullying behavior. There are sites devoted to teachers with lesson plans, songs, and suggestions on opening up dialogue between students to help them understand the process. A number of anti bullying websites advise parents and teachers on how to partner to prevent bullying and provide intervention strategies.
- Boss of My Body: A music video teaching kids to protect themselves.
- Kids Against Bullying: An interactive site with games, stories, and “web-isodes” that help kids spot and stop bullies.
- Stop Bullying: A government site that provides information on state laws regarding bullying and resources for getting help for related problems.
- The Bully Project: Based on the documentary Bully, this site includes kits and guides to kids for creating anti-bullying projects.
- Project Anti-Bully: A global nonprofit to raise awareness.
The most important sites for parents are those that offer information on reporting bullying and how to discuss the matter with children and authorities. Many times parents want to fight the battle for their child. It’s most important to guide a child through the process without locking horns with authorities or the parents of the bully. There are experts in this field who can assist the parents of a bullied child and resources for parents to obtain information to aid in dealing with the problem.
- http://www.bullyinginfo.org – Defines different types of bullying and provides resources for what the public can do to prevent and report bullying incidents.
- http://www.findyouthinfo.gov/resources/bullying – Provides anti bullying information and suicide prevention assistance. Resources include data on programs, publications, technical assistance, tools, websites, and more.
- http://www.stopbullying.gov/ – Presents risk factors, warning signs, and information on prevention and response to bullying and cyber-bullying.
- http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/youthviolence/bullyingresearch/ – The Centers for Disease Control performs research and compiles statistics on bullying behavior.
- http://www.stopbullyingnow.com/ – This resource includes information on the Youth Voice Project, Cyber-bullying, and LGBT Youth.
These sites offer valuable information. It must be understood, however, that the inclusion of materials on websites does not necessarily indicate that they are endorsed by the federal or state government. Additionally, the information available on private websites is not to be construed as legal advice. Consult an attorney for legal information.
In addition, parents can consult with the school’s guidance counselor. It is often productive for a child to discuss these matters with a counselor, as well as for the parents to have a dialogue with that professional. In more difficult cases, parents may want to consult their own therapist or child psychologist to clarify the situation. Often children just need someone to talk to who they feel can offer advice and an unbiased opinion on the matter. The psychological component is often the most difficult for parents to cope with. Talking with a trained professional can help parents and children alike bridge this difficult gulf between emotion and logic.
Dealing with the Bully
One element that is often ignored in the bullying equation is the family dynamic of the bullying child. Although it may not be readily apparent, the bully has feelings too and these must be respected. The family must overcome their natural instinct to cover up for their child and rationalize the situation. The more important issue is treating the bully and tending to the psychological needs that are driving the behavior. Counseling is imperative. There are always reasons for any behavior, and bullying is no exception. Does the child feel inadequate or harbor feelings of hostility? These are questions that must be answered by a qualified expert who can root out the underlying causes of the bullying behavior.
No parent or child wants to be involved in bullying incidents. And no school wants to have charges leveled at them that they are unresponsive to bullying behavior. The need to work in tandem is important, and when all systems mesh, i.e. parents, schools, online resources, and governmental agencies, then the result is positive and our children can only benefit from this cooperative effort.