School Bullying: How Parents Can Ensure their Kids Safety at School
Someone is going to tell you the truth. No parents would like to be presented with the prospect of their child being bullied at school but the fact is more than half of all school going children are involved in school bullying issues either as a witness, victim or perpetrator. So there is a good chance that every parent would have to deal with school bullying issues at some point. Children don’t always tell parents they are being bullied at school so it is the parents who need to take notice if their child is suffering from frequent stomach aches, headaches, refusing to go to school, afraid of riding the school bus, or his school performance shows a sudden dip.
What is the Best Thing to Do if Your Child is being bullied in School?
Don’t assume that your child is being subjected to school bullying because he/she may have done something wrong. Let your child speak about it and listen without being judgemental. Don’t ask questions like, “what happened, why it happened or who is doing the teasing?” to solve the problem. Your child needs to know that he is being heard and when you have the whole story you can take the next best step. When parents acknowledge the feelings of children without being explosive about the whole situation, children feel safer and more comfortable telling their parents everything if such a situation arises again. Marching to the school and confronting the bully will only make matters worse causing your child to recoil so don’t go ballistic with the school bullying issue.
What Can You as Parents do to Prevent Bullying in Schools?
The most effective way is to let your children come up with ideas on what they can say the next time or what they think might work in such a situation. Parents can help their child visualize the outcome of their actions and words. Simply helping them see a problem and figuring out the consequences of their reaction will make them feel capable of solving their own problems. While it is difficult to face a tormentor, you can suggest they walk away from the situation at first but say what needs to be said when confronted with school bullying issues for the second time. Parents should avoid coming up with a solution and coach their child on defusing an attack.
What Can be Done when Children Don’t Talk about School Bullying Issues
If your child won’t talk to you about a school bullying issue, it should still be fine as long as he/she has a safe place to go to because that is more important. If you feel your child cannot talk to you, put someone else in the room with him whether it is an aunt, a family friend, a teacher, a coach, or maybe a counselor because it is important to discuss the issue. Unless someone can break the ice and start a conversation with your child, it is very difficult to get to the root cause of the school bullying issue and arrive at a solution. The best time to talk to your children about school bullying is when they are calm and that is when you can say, “I notice you don’t hang around with your friends anymore” so they can open up without feeling that they are being questioned.
Work with the Teacher
Since a lot of bullying takes place in the school bus or in the cafeteria during the break, your child’s teacher may not be aware of the issue but what a teacher does notice is the change in your child’s emotional state or behavior. Teachers can help prevent bullying issues in school so if suspect a problem, help your child identify a safe touchstone in a teacher who can help him/her if school bullying continues.
School bullying can have a long-term impact on children whether it is emotional, physical or verbal. It can also lead to anxiety, stress, depression and suicidal ideation so parents should not take it lightly. Being an active listener and offering your child unconditional love will help your child develop and maintain positive relations at school and stand up against the wrong people.