As National Bullying Prevention month comes to a close you may be asking yourself, what do you do if your child is being bullied, or what do you do if your child is the bully, or maybe even, how can we stop bullying altogether? All of these questions will be answered within this article.
If your child is being bullied, there are a few things you can do. Since every case is different, there are many different solutions you could try. It may be a trial and error process, but remember the most important thing you can do is to stop the bullying immediately. Don't give up when one solution doesn't work. When your child comes home from school and tells you about a bullying incident stay calm and write down everything. Let your child know how important it is to tell you about the problem and not to ignore it. If cyber bullying is the problem, you can stop it by shutting down all areas where the bullying is happening. Including, but not limited to, shutting down Facebook, changing e-mail addresses, and even changing phone numbers. Bullying is NOT normal, no matter what anyone says. Be aware of your local laws regarding bullying and use them. The bully's parents must be informed of the situation. Don't take no for an answer. There is always something that the school or the bully's parent can do to stop the bullying. If the school and the bully's parents aren't doing anything to alleviate the bullying, then by all means visit your local police department and pursue legal action.
What should you do if your child is the bully? Well first of all you need to understand that there is a way that you can stop it and it isn't just "kids being kids." You must praise your child for the good behavior, and discuss with them why bullying is considered bad behavior. A bully must be taught to take responsibility for their actions. You can work with your child's school to change the behavior. Working with your child's school creates consistency.
There are several ways to eliminate bullying. Some children will show many signs that they are being bullied, however if you the parent don't "connect the dots" you may not realize your child is being bullied. Pay attention to every little thing. If something doesn't add up, dig deeper. Implement a school-wide anti-bullying campaign. Your child's school may not have the time and/or resources to research an anti-bullying program, so be proactive and look one up. Let your child know how important it is to report the bully to a teacher or an administrative person within their school. As a parent, you can volunteer at the school. You will never know exactly what is going on until you see it with your own eyes. Also, being at your child's school and seeing your child's bully, lets the bully know that your child is not alone in this. A school counselor from New Mexico says that one of the best defenses against a bully is the one-liner. It puts the responsibility back on the bully. Teach your children one liner's such as, "I'm sorry you are having a bad day" or "what a waste of a good brain." This will usually catch the bully so off-guard they won't know how to react.
Ultimately, children are very impressionable, therefore teaching them at a very early age how to communicate appropriately, effectively, and respectfully is very important. If bullying could be eliminated, imagine how our youth would flourish.