You do all you can as a parent to keep your child safe but how helpless might you feel to protect your child when you realize they are being bullied. There are steps you can take to support your child and intervene in productive ways.
1. Listen carefully to your child when they report the bullying. Be supportive and thank them for sharing this.
2. Don’t direct the child to ignore the behavior. This undermines the seriousness of the situation and ignoring is not an effective method for handling bullying.
3. Don’t assume your child has done something to provoke the bullying.
4. Find out as much as you can about the bullying. When and where did it happen? Who was involved and did any adults witness it?
5. Don’t encourage physical retaliation. It could make matters worse and your child could get suspended or expelled.
6. Keep your emotions in check. You don’t want to react in an emotional way but instead come up with a plan that is smart and rational.
7. Report bullying to school officials as it is not likely to stop without their involvement.
8. Let school staff know that you want to work with them on a solution. If you feel their plan is not appropriate or adequate work with them to develop a plan of action that you are satisfied with. Ask for changes in your child’s schedule to reduce contact with the bully.
9. If the bullying does not stop, contact school staff again. Be prepared to go to higher ups in the school district if necessary.
10. Do not contact the parents of the bully(s). It can make matters worse. School administrators should contact those parents.
11. Seek support from other parents. Consider working in the community to shed light on this issue. Perhaps an expert on bullying can speak at the school or the school can get involved in an anti-bullying program.
12. Encourage your child to make contact with friendly students in their class. Help facilitate those friendships by inviting these positive friends to your home.
13. Boost your child’s confidence by helping them develop their talents or positive attributes through music, art or athletic programs. These activities are good places for your child to meet like-minded peers.
14. Talk to your child about seeking help from adults when bullying behavior occurs. Let them know that reporting bullying is not the same as tattling.
15. If your child is being targeted because of a learning disability or lack of social skills, consider getting help through counseling and social skills groups so they can improve their interaction with peer groups. The bullying is still wrong in these cases but helping the child develop social skills can help them feel less set apart from peers.
16. Make sure that your child always feels safe and protected at home and keep lines of communication open.