Note: This post was written by a guest author.
Below is the final installment of our first bullying series. If you personally have any tips or insight on how to manage and get through a bullying situation, please sound off below in the Comments section.
How should a parent react to hearing that their child is being a bully?
Don’t overreact! It is important to communicate with the school in an effort to address the behavior and then work collaboratively to help your child develop the skills needed to avoid bullying behaviors. Set firm limits and clear expectations with your child. Encourage them to make amends for their behavior (for example, replacing a stolen item or apologize to the target). Put into place a plan for close monitoring and supervision of the child so as to avoid future opportunities to bully. Counseling may be helpful to aid in developing more appropriate social skills, self-control, and empathy.
What are some clues that your child may have been or is being bullied?
Unexplained bruises or other injuries
Missing items (lunch money, school supplies, personal items, etc.)
Lack of interest in school related activities
Noted differences in sleeping, eating, and behavior patterns that are uncharacteristic of your child
Does not want to attend school, but offers no explanation as to why
Frequents the nurse’s office without physical symptoms
What are some tips for who kids who are being bullied?
If you are being bullied, it is important to tell a trusted adult so that they can help. Know that this is not your fault! It is not okay for someone to treat you this way and you don’t have to deal with this alone.
Ignoring the bully may help, but it might not work. If it doesn’t, there are other options. Again, talking with an adult about what these options are is important.
You’ll want to maintain composure during a bullying incident. Don’t show the bully you are mad, sad or upset. Remember, bullying is about control and power. If the bully wants to upset you and thinks they can every time they bully you, you’ve now just proved that they have the power to manipulate you.
Maintain self-control and confidence if you plan to respond to the bully. Practice what you might say by role-playing the situation with someone you trust.
Surround yourself with people you care about. Find a way to meet new friends: join a club, play an instrument, try out for a sport, take a class at the library. Don’t be a loner!
This concludes our bullying series with Jackie Summers, Bullying Prevention Specialist for Akron Public Schools. NCES realizes that bullying will never go away, and that in the future it will mutate (just as it has to currently invade cyberspace) again and find another venue for its cruelty. Check back here for future bullying installments, including workshops that the Chagrin Valley Little Theater does to aid the bullied and bullies. Also, NCES will continue to post articles and tips to assist and dealing with this country-wide epidemic.