Friday, May 15, 2009

Bullying: Tips for parents and victims

Every day, many children stay home because of bullying. Every child deserves an environment where they can develop without fear of aggression or cruelty.

Tips for parents:

  1. Be a good listener to your child.
  2. Be a positive role model - respect others and stand up for yourself when others don't respect you.
  3. Teach your child to walk away and get help from an adult if they witness bullying.
  4. Build your child's self confidence. Encourage them to set and reach goals.
  5. Use positive discipline and teach nonviolence.
  6. If you have concerns, consult a professional for support.

Tips for victims and witnesses...

Many children who are bullied keep it a secret. They may think telling will make matters worse, so know the warning signs. A victim may:

  • Seem quiet or depressed.
  • Have bruises or other injuries.
  • Come home with missing or damaged belongings.
  • Ask for more lunch money.
  • Loose interest in school or do poorly in school.

If parents learn that their child is being bullied, they can do the following:

  • Stay calm. Tell the child that nobody deserves to be bullied.
  • Ask why your child thinks he or she is being bullied.
  • Think of peaceful solutions together.

Encourage your child to:

  • Stick with a group. Avoid being alone in "target" areas like locker rooms, restrooms or empty classrooms, and avoid places where the bully hangs out.
  • Don't fight back or seek revenge.
  • Be assertive and confident. Use body language to show you are not afraid.
  • Agree with the bully. Say, "You're right." Then walk away.
  • Tell the bully to stop or walk away and get help from an adult. Report all bullying incidents.
  • Teach your child not to be a bystander. When no one speaks up, the bully learns he or she can get away with it.