Pointers For Parents
“Mom, my friends won’t let me sit with them at lunch any more. I HATE SCHOOL!!!”
“Dad, I want to quit football. Some of the guys on the team have been beating me up in the locker room or when the coach isn’t looking.”
These are words no parent wants to hear. Unfortunately, many children are bullied in their school years. Studies show that bullying happens to 10-20% of children on a regular basis. Here are some suggestions if your child is bullied.
Calm down. Many parents experience strong emotions themselves when they hear about their child being bullied. It’s natural, but it’s not helpful to your child if you’re out of control. Take a few moments to get your emotions in check so you will be ready and able to fully help your child.
Comfort your child. Acknowledge their feelings, and let them know that it is not their fault that they are being bullied. Remind them that it takes a lot of strength to talk about this with someone else.
Get the facts. Find out who is doing the bullying, what specifically has happened, who else has witnessed the bullying, how frequently it’s been happening, when and where the bullying occurs, what your child has done in response to the bullying, and whether or not that’s been successful. Write down this information and document any further incidents your child reports to you. This will be helpful should you decide to report to the school.
Work together to create a plan. Once you have a clear idea of the extent of the problem, you and your child should discuss what he or she might do if this happens again. Role play or practice with your child so he or she feels more comfortable and confident with their response. If YOU plan on taking action, let your child know what you are going to do. In addition, help your child make or keep strong friendships. Encourage your child to pursue interests and activities they enjoy. Keep the lines of communication open.
Contact the school. Students who bully are often sneaky, so school personnel may not know that your child is being bullied. Give the school as much information as possible and find out what they are going to do to help your child. Call them immediately if there are more bullying incidents. Otherwise, follow up with them in a few days to let them know that the bullying has stopped. Keep a record of all contacts you make with your child’s school.
Call the YWCA. We believe that no one deserves to be bullied. If you would like more information about bullying, please call us at (815) 625-0333.