There are many parents out there struggling to know what to do to address the emotional wellbeing of their bullied children. They realise that it is often unhelpful to confront the bully’s parents and they certainly understand that confronting the bully is not acceptable. But what then do they do? They can’t just sit on their hands and hope the problem resolves itself. It’s just as likely to get worse as it is to go away.
So what can be done?
I like these tips from ncpc.org:
- Talk to your child’s teacher about it instead of confronting the bully’s parents. If the teacher doesn’t act to stop the bullying, talk to the principal.
- Teach your child nonviolent ways to deal with bullies, like walking away, playing with friends, or talking it out.
- Help your child act with self-confidence. With him or her, practice walking upright, looking people in the eye, and speaking clearly.
- Don’t encourage your child to fight. This could lead to him or her getting hurt, getting in trouble, and beginning more serious problems with the bully.
- Involve your child in activities outside of school. This way he or she can make friends in a different social circle.
The last tip is a common one that doesn’t appeal to me. The child should not have to find a different social circle just because the one he/she is in is unforgiving and intolerant. It says little for the school if they can’t promote social opportunities for your child.
The key tip is to consult the classroom teacher. But do more than just relay your concerns. Ask how the teacher is going to monitor and deal with the situation and then make a meeting for a fortnights to debrief with the teacher about how they are activating their plan. This follow up meeting lets the teacher know that you will not settle for anything less than a quick and focused response.
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