5 Tips for Keeping Bullying in Perspective

Things parents need to remember about bullying

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When your child is bullied, it can be hard to be rational. After all, your child is being traumatized and you feel powerless to stop it. As a result, you experience a wide range of emotions. One moment you are seething with anger and the next you are crying over coffee with a friend.

And while it is normal to feel angry and upset, it also is important that you remain calm and in control of your emotions.

Plotting revenge, lashing out at the school, airing your grievances online or stalking the bully on social media are not healthy nor are they productive.

Here are a few reminders that will help you keep the focus where it needs to be – on helping your child stay safe and overcome the bullying experience.

Bullying is a choice made by the bully. Put the blame for the bullying on the shoulders of the bully not someone else. Remember, it is not the school’s fault that your child was bullied. Schools can have the best bullying prevention programs in the country but kids will still make bad choices. So be careful not to blame the school because your child is bullied. Instead, focus on what is truly the school’s responsibility and that is to investigate the bullying incident, to hold the bully accountable and to provide a safe learning environment for your child.

Schools have a responsibility to investigate bullying claims.

Parents often assume that once a bullying complaint is filed that action will be taken immediately against the bully. But in some cases it is not that simple. School personnel have to be careful to follow all the necessary steps when bullying is reported. Many times this includes viewing security tapes, talking with bystanders and having a conversation with the bully.

But the school still has a responsibility to keep your child safe. So while the investigation is taking place, the school should still take steps to assist your child in feeling safe. Be sure to ask for what you need. And if you feel the school administrators are not taking your claims seriously, contact someone higher up the chain of command.

School bullies are still someone else’s children. Avoid engaging in any type of character assassination when your child is bullied – even when the bullying is atrocious. You should also refrain from gossiping or spreading rumors. Remember that the bully is still growing and developing and with proper intervention can learn better ways of behaving. Also, do not assume that the parents of the bully are mean or cruel. There are some instances where the parents will be just as shocked to learn that their child is bully as you are. Allow room for the parents to address the bullying in their child’s life without painting them in a horrible light.

Your focus should be on your child.

Too many times parents get wrapped up in talking about the bullying that they lose focus on what is really important. They engage in conversations with other parents, teachers and school officials and forget to have conversations with the one person that needs them the most – their child. Once you report the bullying, your focus should be on your child and what he needs. Be sure you have regular conversations about how he is feeling and what he needs to feel better about the current situation. Then make sure those things happen.

You need to take care of yourself too. Don’t forget that dealing with a bullying situation can be exhausting. Be sure to surround yourself with supportive people and distance yourself from anyone who is not supportive of what you are experiencing. Likewise, be sure you are taking steps to take care of yourself. And, don’t forget about your other children too. Bullying impacts the entire family. Be sure to save some time for your other children and address their needs too.

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