My Child is Being Bullied
If you are concerned because your child is being repeatedly threatened or injured by another child it is important that you get involved and take action. Bullying rarely stops when victims are left to deal with it themselves. Bullying often happens while others watch, but unfortunately most bystanders, even adults, don’t intervene.
Deal with the problem right away
Your child may be nervous about involving you in the problem for fear it might make things worse. Talk to your son or daughter about finding a friend in whom they can trust. Talk to the school. Make a plan together that safely addresses the problem. Get help from a classroom teacher or school administrator, they often have a different perspective on what is happening. Through changes in seating and encouragement to join extra curricular activities, the teacher can support your child as they develop friendships. With issues of bullying they can ensure your child is safe and deal immediately with any problems that occur.
What to avoid
Avoid giving advice such as telling your child to fight back against a the child bullying them or do something to get even. This behaviour only increases the likelihood that bullying will continue. It might even escalate it. Your child could get hurt or hurt someone else.
Get the details
Ask your child the following questions and write the answers down:
What happened when you felt bullied?
How severe has the bullying behaviour been?
How often does it happen?
Who is bullying you?
Where does the bullying happen?
Did anyone see them bullying you?
How did you respond to the bully or bullies?
Did you tell anyone else or do something about being bullied?
Be sure to add anything that you’ve done to address the problem if this is not the first time you’ve spoken to your child about bullying.
When you speak to your child about the bullying and write down the answers, you show your child that you are taking their feelings seriously. The child feels that you have listened to them and are supportive.
Contact the school
Print your notes from your talk with your child.
Get in touch with the school and arrange to speak with or meet the principal or vice-principal. If you meet in person, bring a copy of your notes and give them to the principal or vice-principal. If you spoke by telephone, send the notes to the principal or vice-principal right after the call.
Sharing your notes helps the school give you and your child the help you both need.
If the bullying persists
Keep a record of all incidents of bullying your child discusses with you.
Watch for signs that the bullying is continuing or if things are improving.
Ask the school for a copy of the school’s anti-bullying policy or code of conduct. It should include guidelines for appropriate student behaviour and the consequences that will be applied if a child’s behaviour is inappropriate.
If more bullying happens, get in touch with the school and share the details of the new incidents.
If the situation is not resolved within the agreed upon time frame, continue to keep a detailed record of each incident and include this information in a letter to the person who is responsible for maintaining safe schools in your school board, such as a safe schools administrator.
You are your child’s most important advocate. Keep asking until you get the help your child needs.
Supporting your child
Teach your child to identify bullying behaviour and what to do about it. Work with them on assertiveness skills and teach them when and how to take a stand against bullying (calmly not aggressively) and/or when and how to get help. Talk to them about why kids bully.