Tips for Parents

If Your Child is the Target

 

  • Talk to your child. Let him know that you take bullying very seriously.  Make sure to actively listen. Make it clear you want to help.
  • Talk with your child about which adults they can go to for help in addition to yourself (an extended family member, neighbor, trusted teacher, etc).  The more people your child can seek out for support, the better.
  • Empathize.  Make sure he knows his feelings are valid and that you understand.
  • Help your child develop strategies and skills for coping.  A bully support group can help. The Peace Center runs such groups.
  • Reassure him that the situation can be handled privately.
  • Get help.  Arrange for him talk to a professional trained in bullying issues.
  • Find out if there is an adult in the school whom your child trusts. Ask if that adult is willing to be a confidant.
  • Document all cases of ongoing bullying. Print and keep any electronic communication that could be considered bullying.
  • Encourage your child to participate in extra-curricular activities in her area of interest.
  • Don’t ever tell your child to ignore the bullying. What she may “hear” is that YOU are going to ignore it.  Ignoring bullying can often accelerate it.
  • Do not blame your child for being bullied or indicate that he did anything to provoke the event.
  • Do not demand or expect an instant solution. This takes time.

 

If Your Child is the Aggressor

 

  • Talk to your child. Let him know that bullying is wrong and that you take the matter very seriously.
  • Ask for an account of the situation. Explain what the accusation is against him and listen calmly to his explanation of the incident.
  • Talk with your child about empathy and understanding the feelings of others.
  • Calmly let him know that you won’t tolerate the behavior.  Help him learn how bullying affects everyone involved.
  • Help your child understand the difference between fun/teasing and bullying.
  • Develop clear and consistent rules for your child’s behavior.
  • Build on his talents and positive attributes. Encourage him to participate in an extra-curricular social activity.
  • Praise your child when she follows the rules.
  • Work together to determine fair consequences and follow through on them.
  • Spend more time with your child.
  • Know your child’s friends. Find out how they spend their free time.
  • Carefully supervise and monitor your child’s activities on and offline.
  • Set a good example.
  • Get help from trained professionals in the field.