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May 4th, 2013

Bullying – Parent Guide

Ask your kids about the amplif(i) presentations they saw at school.

What choices did the speaker make that they can or cannot relate to; what did they learn?

Attend one of our adult education presentations.

Discuss with your kid what you have learned about bullying and what your family’s view of bullying is.

Teach your kid to become a healthy bystander.

Suggest that they come to the aid of others. This can be done by removing the target from the situation (tell the target that a teacher needs to see them) or by taking the opportunity to speak positively about the victim, on or offline. If your kid feels safe, they also have the option to tell the bully to stop. Also teach them to document and report everything that they observed. It is important that they understand that telling is not snitching. Tragically, no one intervenes in bullying 85% of the time. Your kid can make a big impact by communicating the problem to school administration.

Make time and listen.

If your kid is being bullied, it is important that they feel as though you are concerned and empathetic about their situation. They do not need to be lectured – they already have enough stress. Utilize this time to reassure them that they are loved and that you will support them through this time in their life. Kids are often reluctant to tell adults about bullying because they feel embarrassed it’s happening to them, or they worry that their parents will be disappointed. Sometimes youth feel like it’s their fault, they’re scared that it will get worse, that no one will believe them or help them do anything about it, or that parents will overreact and take away their technology.

Know the Law.

Most states have taken a strong stand against bullying by instituting laws and statutes designed to protect the well-being of our youth. Take time to research your state laws on bullying. Communicate with your school administration and the police if the problem persists or becomes physical. Make sure to save all communications and include dates, locations, and names of the people you reported the incident to. Several states that have bullying legislation require continued documentation by the school and administration. It is always a good idea for families to also maintain complete records of all incidents and actions taken to resolve the situation.

Do not stand by and hope it gets better.

Get involved in your kid’s life by encouraging positive activities such as sports, music, family outings, and by modeling appropriate conflict resolution. Utilize your school administration as a resource to follow up with every incident.

Communication is key.

Kids that communicate their problems are more likely to recover. Create opportunities for open dialog, encourage them to continually speak with school staff, and reinforce a positive self-image.

Monitor your kid’s behavior on and offline.

It is easy for a kid to switch roles from a victim to a bully and vice versa. Know your kid’s peer groups, monitor their internet use and online posts, check their room and car, and discuss family values and boundaries.

If your kid begins bullying others, calmly let them know that you do not tolerate their behavior.

Most states have taken a strong stand against bullying; discuss the legal ramifications. Make your kid’s behavior your responsibility. If your kid is the bully, work with your school administration and hold your kid accountable to predetermined consequences.

Seek professional help when needed.

Often times there are underlying causes of bullying and a victim can suffer from lasting emotional consequences. Regardless of whether your kid is the bully or the victim, utilize resources like your school, Boys and Girls Clubs, local churches, and health care professionals to bring the issue to resolution. If the problem persists, or becomes violent in nature, contact your local police.

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