HELP 4 EVERY PARENT
These articles on bullying are by Robyn Collins and Wendy Nichols.
Part 2: What do you do if your child is being bullied?
If your child is being bullied here are some things you can do:
Step 1: Stay calm. It is important that you stay calm even though your child might be very upset. Children will pick up your reaction very quickly and respond to it. If you immediately become angry and want to confront the teacher or the bully you may be displaying aggressive behaviour similar to bullying; if you lay all the blame on the bully (even though this is perfectly reasonable) it may encourage your child to feel powerless; if you brush your child’s concerns aside, you are implying that bullying is not important. The important thing is to let children know that you are on their side and that together you are going to work out a solution.
Step 2: Analyse the bullying. Write down what is happening, when, where who is doing the bullying. This gives you factual information that you can use if you choose later to report the bullying. It also allows you to look for patterns so that bullying can be avoided. For example, if your child is always bullied on the way to school, you can look at alternative routes or alternative transport or organise for others to accompany your child.
Step 3: Ignore the bullying if possible. This may take some time, but if the bullying is not severe physical bullying, and if your child can calmly walk away from the bully over time the research shows that the bullying stops. Tell your child to try not to show he/she is upset – bullies love this. Do not encourage your child to fight back. This can cause the bullying to escalate. Do encourage your child to try to avoid risk situations, to talk to a friend about it, to forget about it by doing something they enjoy.
Step 4: Decision time. Secrecy just increases a bully’s power; and ignoring bullying condones it. If someone is being assaulted in the streets, children agree it should be reported to the police. If a child is being bullied at school the same applies. It is most important for children to know that bullying is never acceptable. If they have tried analysing the bullying and ignoring the bullying without success, it is time that they report the bullying.
Robyn Collins and Wendy Nichols
You can read more about bullying in Robyn and Wendy’s ebook at www.freefrombullies.com Copyright 2006