Feb. 22, 2019
As a parent, worrying about your child is part of the job title, and worrying about bullying is often near the top of things that concern many parents. While bullying is not a new issue, it’s changed over the decades. With cell phones and social media, bullying is no longer restricted to the schoolyard or street corners – bullying can follow you home.
Bullying is the use of intimidation to obtain control over another person or to cause physical, mental or emotional harm to another person. Bullying occurs repeatedly and over time, and can occur through written, verbal or electronic means or by a physical act or gesture.
Being the victim of bullying can cause many problems for children including lower self-esteem, depression, anxiety, physical illness, absenteeism, lower grades and thoughts of suicide.
These facts are scary, but there are many things schools and parents can do to prevent bullying.
If you do not know what measures your school has in place to prevent and to respond to bullying, talk to your school leader.
Parents can help by:
- Teaching your children the importance of being inclusive.
- Showing your children how to solve conflicts by talking through the issue, role playing and discussing solutions.
- Teaching your children to stick up for others.
- Teaching your children to tell a trusted adult at home and school if they see bullying.
- Asking about and supporting your school’s bullying policy.
Parents can help prevent cyberbullying by:
- Checking your child’s email, texts and social media accounts.
- Talking to your child about cyberbullying. For information about how to have that conversation visit: commonsensemedia.org.
- Teaching your child that it is never okay to share any messages that tease or make fun of another person.
If your child is a victim of bullying:
- Teach your children to tell a trusted adult in the school and at home.
- Talk with and listen to your child. Engage your child in conversation about what is going on and refrain from freaking out. Make sure your child is and feels safe.
- Focus on your child rather than the bully.
- Never tell your child to ignore the bullying.
- Don’t blame your child for being bullied or assume that your child did something wrong.
- Work with your child’s school. Seek the help of administrators if the target and aggressor go to the same school.
- Contact the police when physical threats are involved.
- If necessary, seek counseling. Your child may benefit from speaking with a mental health professional. Children may prefer to speak with a third party who may be perceived as more objective.
Anonymous tips on bullying can be sent to Safe2Tell at 1-877-542-7233.