Bullying remains a hot topic in the news with incidents being reported daily. Its important for everyone to realize that this is more than a school issue. We can develop plans for dealing with bullying, but in the end we also need help from parents and the community.
Stan Davis, a bully prevention expert from Maine, gives some valuable guidance to parents:
How can I talk with my child if he or she bullies someone else?
Help your child tell you exactly what he or she did, without excuses or blaming others. Remember that even if the other student involved did something, your child made a choice to do what he did. Encourage her to
talk about how that behavior affected the other person. Help him find the goal he was trying to reach through hurting the other person- Did he want attention? Power? Fun? To be left alone? And help her find other ways to reach that goal without hurting others. If your child has been punished at school, it will probably not be necessary to punish again at home (unless the behavior was severe). Encourage your child to behave better next time.
How can I support my child if he or she is bullied at school?
Avoid blaming your child for what others have done to him or her. Think twice before giving advice- your child may have already tried the strategies you are going to suggest. Get as much information as you can. Talk
with your child’s teacher, principal, or counselor and ask them to help your child be safe. Their
intervention may include consequences for the student who bullies, increased supervision, and
helping your child make more friends if he or she is isolated. Ask your child what she has already tried to resolve the problem. Praise her for all the things she has tried. Give him permission to stop doing the things that haven’t worked to stop the bullying. Encourage him to keep telling you and other adults. Help him to think about what has worked- or what might work. If your child is isolated, help her make connections through activities, hobbies, or clubs. Help your child to heal through art, hobbies, positive relationships at school and away from school, and through helping your child see the cruel behavior as a choice made by those who bullied him or her, rather than as something he or she caused.