What to Do About Bullying: Tips for Parents
1. Encourage your child to report bullying incidents to you.
- Validate your child's feelings by letting him/her know that it is normal to feel hurt, sad, scared, angry, etc.
- Let your child know that s/he has made the right choice by reporting the incident(s) to you and assure your child that s/he is not to blame.
- Help your child be specific in describing bullying incidents: who, what, where, when. (Look for patterns or evidence of repeated bullying behaviors.)
2. Ask your child how s/he has tried to stop the bullying.
3. Coach your child in possible alternatives.
- Avoidance is often the best strategy.
- Play in a different place.
- Play a different game.
- Stay near a supervising adult when bullying is likely to occur.
- Look for ways to find new friends.
- Support your child by encouraging him/her to extend invitations for friends to play at your home or to attend activities.
- Involve your child in social activities outside of school.
4. Treat the school as your ally.
- Share your child's concerns and specific information about bullying incidents with appropriate school personnel.
- Work with school staff to protect your child from possible retaliation.
- Establish a plan with the school and your child for dealing with future bullying incidents.
5. Encourage your child to seek help and to report bullying incidents to someone s/he feels safe with at the school:
- Adult in charge of a specific activity or area (such as the playground, lunchroom, field trips, bus lines, gym, classroom)
6. Use school personnel and other parents as resources in finding positive ways to encourage respectful behaviors at school.
- Volunteer time to help supervise on field trips, on the playground, or in the lunchroom.
- Become an advocate for schoolwide bullying prevention programs and policies.
7. Encourage your child to continue to talk with you about all bullying incidents.
- Do not ignore your child's report.
- Do not advise your child to physically fight back. (Bullying lasts longer and becomes more severe when children fight back. Physical injuries often result.)
- Do not confront the child who bullies.
- Do not confront the family of the child who bullies.
See our other resources:
- More Parenting Tips:
- Partnering with Parents to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
- Bullying and Seuxal Harassment in Schools
- Battling Bullying-A Whole-School Approach
- Research on Bullying Behavior
- Internet links to other resources on bullying and sexual harassment
Reprinted with the permission of the Committee for Children. © 2007 Committee for Children.