How do I resolve bullying?
Bullying is scary for the teens who experience it, the students who see it happen and the parents whose children are affected. As a concerned parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your children from bullies.
I know what it feels like to worry about the effects of bullying on your children. Because I don’t want you or your children to feel helpless, I’m here to empower you with tips that will help you resolve bullying in a safe and wise manner.
Tips for Parents
When you find out that your child or a friend is being bullied, your first response is probably to take action to solve the problem.
It’s good for you to be on your child’s side and work with her to resolve bullying. Here’s the right way to approach it.
Listen to Your Child
Firstly, you must do is pay attention to what your child is telling you. Don’t jump to conclusions; rather, listen calmly and carefully to their report.
Take notes if possible. Record details about what is going on.
Assure them that, by working together, you will be able to solve this problem and that you are on their side.
Involve the School
Next, reach out to your child’s school. Most schools have anti-bullying policies, so you should enlist the help of your child’s teacher or principal.
The school can contact the parents of the bully. School officials are able to serve as a neutral third party to go between you and the other family.
Whenever you speak to school personnel, keep your voice calm and steady. Do your best to keep your emotions in check and present the facts in a clear manner.
Keep written records of whom you speak to, and follow up with written communication when possible.
If you do not achieve a satisfactory response from the school, go to the school board. If necessary, move on to your regional office of education or the national Department of Education.
Create an Action Plan
Together with your child’s school, form a plan for how to resolve the bullying issue.
Great Schools recommends that your anti-bullying action plan include the following components:
- Your promise to be involved in the resolution.
- A determination that the school will notify the bully’s parents and enact a consequence.
- A signed agreement that the bully will stop all contact with your child.
- A list of people to whom your teen can turn for help.
- A timeline for when the above steps will be completed.
Involve the Police
Not every bullying issue needs to be a police matter. Sometimes schools and parents can tackle the problem together.
However, there are some situations in which you need the involvement of law enforcement. For example, if your child is being physically harmed, you should bring the police in on the situation.
Police involvement helps to hold bullies responsible for criminal behavior and also reminds them of the gravity of their actions.
Build Community Support
Bullying is a common problem, but by working together with others in your community, you can work to build a healthy environment where it is less likely to happen.
If your school or town has an anti-bullying organization, lend them your support.
In communities where such a group does not yet exist, you could start one. Visit the Not In Our Town website for supportive resources for anti-bullying groups.
Tips for Teenagers
Adults have a responsibility to help stop bullying, but your child must be involved too. Whether you suspect that they are currently being bullied or you want them to be prepared to help a friend in need, share the following list of anti-bullying ideas with him or her.
Talk to an Adult
Even if a bully threatens them to keep quiet, they should tell an adult what is happening to them even if it is not you. Bullying is a serious problem, and they should not be expected to resolve the situation on their own.
The adult that they talk should take notes about the things that they tell him or her. A trusted adult should keep records about when they have experienced bullying, who was involved and what happened in each situation.
The adult should also step in and rally other adults to help stop the bullying. For example, if they tell a friend outside school about the problem, the adult should contact you and the school to discuss next steps.
If the first adult that they talk to doesn’t take their concerns seriously, they should try someone else and not give up. They could talk to:
- A teacher.
- A guidance counselor.
- The police, particularly if physical harm is involved.
Learn more about trustworthy people to whom they can speak in the video “Ways to Stop Bullying.”
Respond in the Moment
Victims of bullying should try responding to the bully in a calm, confident voice. Even if they are actually scared and upset, speaking in this way will communicate to the offender that his or her words and actions cannot shake them.
They may also be able to walk away from the situation. They might choose to walk near an adult since a bully is less likely to cause trouble in the presence of an authority figure.
Don’t Resort to Physical Retaliation
Although it might be tempting to fight back, one anti-bullying step that you should never take is to attempt to beat the bully in a fight.
Sometimes, fighting is exactly what the bully wants. By engaging in a physical confrontation, your teenager is giving the bully the satisfaction of having provoked a response.
Plus, fighting has the potential to lead to serious consequences for your kid. Don’t let them get in trouble over someone else’s poor choices.
They’ll get farther with resolving the problem when they confidently use their words to stand up to the bully’s taunts and when they involve the help of caring authorities.
Bullying is scary, but parents and teens can work together to resolve the issue. If you need help knowing what to do, leave a comment below.
- Talking about the problem.
- Asking the school for help.
- Crafting an action plan.
- Practicing appropriate responses.
- Rallying others in the community.