What Can You Do About Bullying - A Parent's Role

Bullying of children in the neighborhood, at school, or on the internet is a very serious problem that has to be addressed and just cannot be ignored thinking it will resolve itself.

Many times our kids, especially as they get older, are very reluctant to confide with a parent and allow them to know what is happening.

There are signs of bullying that might tip you off that there is an existing problem.

Some of the more obvious indicators are:

*Bruises, cuts, scrapes, a black eye, or the obvious signs of a physical confrontation.
*Torn clothing or damaged or missing personal property.
*A sharp change in behavior, being moody or depressed.
*Exhibiting a lack of self esteem or self worth.
*A loss of interest in school or the internet

There are many other indicators which I discuss in other articles.

In this essay I want to take the time to discuss what a parent can do to help their child if they feel there is bullying going on at school effecting your child.

Possible solutions to bullying:

*The first and most important thing to do is to somehow get your son or daughter to open up and discuss the situation with you. This can be very difficult.

If there is an older child in the house who has already gone through this type of situation in the past it might help to get them involved.

If you had such an experience when younger or know the story of someone else who had to deal with this issue it might help to talk about that.

*Often the person being bullied fails to talk to a parent because they feel the parent will:

1. Not believe them
2. Think it is their fault
3. Tell someone making things worse

So you have to emphasize that you are on their side. That you believe them and do not blame them.

More importantly you have to let them know that you will work with them together on the solution. That you will allow them to help decide what can be done to eliminate the problem that exists.

*Sometimes the answer is quite obvious and easily remedied.

Let's say, as an example, it involves stealing his or her lunch money:

1. Have them take a lunch to school instead of money.
2. If they take the packed lunch see about prepaying the school for lunches.

If the problem only occurs on the bus:

1. Is there an alternate bus your child can take to school?
2. If not, can you or a neighbor drive him or her to school? Car Pool?

If they keep trying to take a specific item, iPod, cell phone, etc...

1. Have your son or daughter leave the item home until the problem ends.

*It is important that your child has a "poker face" when being bullied. Do not give the bully the pleasure of seeing them upset or angry. It just plays right into their hands. It is what they want.

*It is important that your child does not lower themselves to the level of the bully. Do not argue or get into a fight. Stay calm. If it gets to the point that they cannot do this do to fear of their safety, then it is time to bring in an authority figure such as a teacher or policeman.

*Finally, it might be time to speak with school officials or even law enforcement especially if there is physical abuse involved.

1. Make sure you discuss this with your son or daughter first, no surprises!
2. If all else fails, try direct confrontation with the bully's parent, have someone as a moderator so things do not get ugly and out of control.


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