As parents, we go to great lengths to ensure that our children are safe. Making the discovery that your child is being bullied is an extremely testing time and many parents feel powerless when faced with the situation.
Bullying is a prevalent part of many children’s lives, so it is extremely important for parents to be equipped with the knowledge of how to approach the topic of bullying.
- Listen to your child
Listen to your child but avoid becoming over-emotional about the situation.
Repeat what your child has said to ensure understanding between you and your child. For example, ‘They called you a mean name and pushed you? I can understand why you are sad’. Bullying is an isolating experience, so it is important to build reassurance through active listening.
- Reassure your child
A big fear for children is that if they speak up, the bullying will get worse. Reassure your child that they are brave for talking to you about what’s going on and there will be no repercussions for them speaking up.
- Gather facts
Gather facts from your child and discuss what your child is experiencing. Deciphering the details of the situation will help when taking further action.
Discuss the differences between bullying and ‘being mean’ with your child. Bullying is deliberate and happens on numerous occasions. Do not downplay your child’s emotions, but it is important to help instil resilience towards ‘minor’ or one-off incidents.
- Speak to your child’s school
Call the school and explain the concern and details of the situation
Do not try to keep your child off school –getting back into the original school routine can be difficult and the school may not be able to resolve the issue effectively
Avoid speaking the bully’s family – this is not an advisable plan of action
- Monitor the progress
Keep talking and listening to your child. Ask them questions which allow for positive discussion and allow them to open up to you.
Make sure to communicate with the school and your child’s teachers to discuss any fears and worries which you may have. Once a plan of action has been set in place with the school, try not to over-focus on the situation.