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Back to School and Back to Bullies

Date: September 15, 2015 Categories: Blog

School’s been in session for over a month now. Kids and parents alike are getting used to their new routine, but something that parents forget about is that back to school also means back to bullies. This is a topic that has been covered fervently by the media every year, but it’s always good to refresh what you can do as a parent if your child is being bullied, or even if your child is the bully.

 

Bullies can turn a fun and exciting school year into a miserable one for your child. Here are some tips from overcomebullying.org to keep in mind when helping your child cope with the fear and worry that comes with being bullied:

 

  • Talk with your child. Let them know that you can’t help them unless you know about the situation. Listen to their stories and feelings, while being non-judgmental and calm. Remember that there are always two sides to every story. Work with your child to develop solutions that make them feel comfortable.
  • Don’t tell your child to ignore the bully or to learn how to fight. Encouraging your child to minimize their emotional reaction to the bully may reduce the frequency and severity of the incidents; however, ignoring a problem rarely ever makes it go away. And fighting fire with fire just makes a bigger fire.
  • Involve your child’s teacher and principal, but don’t rely on them to be the sole source of the solution. Simply telling the teacher does not necessarily mean the problem will be solved. Many teachers and school administrators are at just as much of a loss as you are with respect to how to handle the growing problem of bullying. All of the parties involved in bullying – targets, bullies, parents, teachers, school administrators and support staff – need to come together to find a solution.

 

On the other side of things, it’s never fun for a parent to find out that their child is the bully. This can sometimes be a hard pill to swallow. Here are some tips on how to be a part of the solution if your child is the bully:

  • Don’t deny that there is a problem. Once again, ignoring a problem rarely makes it go away, and often exacerbates it. Your child may not be entirely to blame; but he or she is definitely part of the equation, and problems can’t be solved without all parts of the equation being satisfied. Minimizing the importance of the issue sends a message to your child that being inconsiderate of other people’s feelings is acceptable.
  • Encourage and model empathy. Bullies often lack the feeling of empathy. When discussing specific incidents, ask your child to put themselves in the other child’s shoes. While watching TV or a movie with your child, openly discuss what you think the characters might be feeling in certain scenes, especially ones filled with turmoil.
  • Brainstorm reparations and focus on accountability. Ask your child to help you understand what they did that caused harm to another, and why they behaved in that manner. Then, work with your child to develop meaningful ways to show he or she is sorry for what they did. Simply saying sorry is not enough; they must state what they are sorry for, and what they are going to do in the future to make amends.

 

Bullying isn’t an issue anyone wants to be a part of, no matter what part of the equation your child might be. One thing is for sure, though, we must all work together to be a part of the solution. To see the full list of tips click here.Back