Twenty-five to 35% of children from age 12-18 report being bullied at some point. That’s a lot of kids. If your child happens to be one of them, it can be quite concerning as a parent. Not only does it potentially make a child’s experience at school miserable, bullying is also a cause of eating disorders, drug abuse, and even suicides.
While the bullying of a child is a tragic thing, there are things you can do to help your child.
Use these strategies to help your child successfully deal with bullying:
1. Speak with your child. Reassure your child that everything is going to be okay. It’s also important for your child to understand that nothing is wrong with them. The person with an issue is the bully.
- Collect facts. Find out when the bullying is occurring. Is it on the bus? During lunch? On the playground? In the locker room? In gym class? What exactly is happening? Get all the facts you can. You’re going to need them.
2. Do your best to remain calm. Even the most even-keeled parents can go off the deep end if someone is making their child afraid and miserable. Save your energy. Your child will also fare better if you don’t make too big of a deal about it. You certainly want your child to know that you care, but overreacting can create even more drama.
3. Speak with the principal. Speak with the principal at your child’s school. Most principals are sensitive to bullying issues in their school. If possible, make an appointment rather than just send an email or make a phone call. The more serious you come across to the principal, the more likely they are to take action.
4. Consider speaking with the bully’s parents. Some parents would be horrified to hear their child was being a bully at school. Other parents simply won’t care or will become hostile. It shouldn’t be too hard to track down the bully’s parents and make a phone call. Be pleasant and see what happens.
5. Involve your child’s friends. Your child’s friends can be a great help. You can gain more information, and they might be able to provide a buffer between your child and the bully. Most bullies prefer to target children that are alone.
6. Reach out to the superintendent. Is the principal failing to take you seriously? It’s time to reach out to their boss. In fact, you might want to tell the principal this is your next step. No one wants to have someone complain to their boss. You might be surprised by the amount of action you see.
- Superintendents don’t want to be bothered with this kind of thing. They’ll almost certainly put an end to it quickly if you bring the matter to their attention.
7. If all else fails, consider involving the police. The next stop is the police department. They’ll have to investigate the matter, and this is the last thing the principal or superintendent wants to have happen.
8. Another viable option is to approach the School Board if your other attempts have proven unfruitful. They’re the ones that hired the superintendent and approved the principal. All it takes is one sympathetic board member to get the wheels rolling.
Make it clear that you’re not going to give up, and it’s likely you’ll eventually be satisfied with the results.
Avoid the temptation to dismiss your child’s struggles as simply part of childhood. Bullying can have serious consequences. You could also damage the relationship you share with your child if you’re not attentive and helpful during this challenging time.