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What can parents do to stop bullying?
As a parent it is important to stay educated on signs of bullying, even if your child is not being bullied. Your awareness could help another child deal with this nationwide problem.
Signs of Being Bullied
Disclaimer: The following MAY be indicators that your child is being bullied.
Unless your child tells you about bullying, or has visible bruises or injuries, it can be difficult to figure out if it's happening.
- not eating
- not sleeping well
- moodier or more easily upset than usual
- they start avoiding certain situations, like taking the bus to school
Exhibiting Signs of Bullying
Your child may be bullying others if he/she:
- Comes home from school with extra money or "new" toys, books, or clothes.
- Is cruel or mean when talking about other children.
- Excludes other children from activities.
Work closely with your administrator. If you see any of this behavior, take action. Discuss the situation with your child as soon as possible before the behavior becomes routine. Ask questions to find out what is going on in your child's life. It may be that your child is dealing with a difficult situation and is reacting to it by targeting other children. Or your child may not yet know the importance of understanding the feelings of others (empathy).
Types of Bullying
When discussing bullying, it is very important for parents, students and teachers to understand what bullying is not. In many instances a single act may be insensitive or mean behavior but is not considered bullying.
Some people think that bullying is any aggressive behavior or insensitive remark. Although this behavior is unacceptable and needs to be addressed, it is important to make the distinction from bullying.
It is important to remember anything that happens once is NOT an act of bullying. As a parent, it is important that you pay attention to what your kids are telling you and find out if things are happening more than once.
These signs may aslo indicate other issues going on with children, which is why it is important to maintain very open communication with your child, or make sure your child has someone he or she feels comfortable with to discuss what may be occurring. While schools try to do all they can to prevent and address bullying, school personnel cannot be everywhere at once, and no one knows your child better than you.
There are 4 types of bullying.
Communication is Key
If you suspect bullying but your child is relucatanct to discuss it, find opportunities to bring up the issue. You might see something on TV and use it as a conversation starter, asking "What do you think of that?" or "What do you think that person should have done?" During these conversations you might also ask, "Have you ever seen this happen?" or "Have you ever experienced this?" Discuss with your child any similar situations you may have had at their age.
Let your kids know it's important to talk to someone about it, whether it's you, another adult (a teacher, school counselor, or family friend), or a sibling. If your child tells you about a bully, remain calm. Praise your child for being brave enough to talk about it. Focus on offering support and advice. There are several reasons that kids are reluctant to talk about bullying. Many feel embarrassed, ashamed, or worry that their parents will be disappointed. Some kids feel like it is their fault, or worry about repercussions from the bully for "tattling" on them.
As upsetting as bullying can be for you and your family, lots of people and resources are available to help.
File a Bullying Complaint