Bullying is a very real part of the school climate. At some point, all students experience a form of bullying whether as a bystander or as the child being bullied. Here are some tips on what to do if your child becomes a target.
Listen carefully to what your child is telling you about the situation. Make notes about specific occurrences and names of children involved so that you have them for later reference. Help your child to know that he is not alone and that you will work together to make sure that he feels safe at school. Then ask his permission to talk with the teacher (and emphasize that he will not get in trouble for “telling.”) Getting his permission to share the information will help to put him in control of the situation.
Contact the School
Often bullying happens at unstructured times or when the bully is least-likely to be seen or heard. Alerting the teacher to the situation will help her to monitor it carefully and to help bring in other school resources to make sure that your child feels comfortable.
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Talk with your child about what to do if the bullying is happening. Tell her not to respond to the bully, and to walk away to be with another friend. If the bully follows her, she should go to the nearest trusted adult and explain what is happening. In the event that the bully is being physical, she should not respond and go to an adult immediately.
Contact the Other Child’s Parents
It is possible that the bully’s parents do not know that the behavior is happening. Contacting his parents will help alert them to the situation. It may also open the door to working together to make sure that the situation is corrected.
Help Boost Self-Confidence
Being targeted by a bully may cause your child to feel very lonely. Working on helping him to identify his strengths will help him to see what a strong person he is. Also spending one-on-one time doing some of his favorite things will help him to see how much he is valued.
Set-up Play Dates
Another great way to combat loneliness is by setting up time to play with friends (or to make new ones.) Finding opportunities for your child to build relationships will allow her to see that she does have good friends who care about her. It will also help to build the support system that she has when she is at school.
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