Updated:Orlando, Fla —
Parents can play a key role in preventing and stopping bullying. But first they have to know if their children bully or are bullied by others. Many parents do not discuss bullying with their children, and many children do not raise the topic of bullying with their parents.
Some parents of children who bully may also support such behavior without knowing it. They may use power and aggression to resolve conflicts, or they may fail to keep track of and stop bullying at home. Also, as children get older, bullying often occurs when adults are not around.
For more information, visit http://www.stopbullying.gov/parents/index.html
Children rarely tell their parents that they are being bullied. Pay attention to the following signs and changes in behavior:
- Continually finds excuses to stay home from school.
- Returns home from school with cuts, scrapes and bruises.
- Arrives home from school with damaged, torn or missing belongings.
- Spends a lot of time alone and doesn’t socialize with others.
- Experiences mood swings and a change in personality, such as fearfulness and unusual anxiety.
- Seems afraid to go to school or ride the bus and feigns illness.
- Has trouble sleeping and suffers nightmares.
- Loses interest in school and suddenly his/her grades drop.
- Sudden loss of appetite.
- Neglects his/her appearance.
What can you do as a parent?
1. Encourage your child to report bullying incidents to you.
- Validate your child's feelings by letting him/her know that it is normal to feel hurt, sad, scared, angry, etc.
- Let your child know that s/he has made the right choice by reporting the incident(s) to you and assure your child that s/he is not to blame.
- Help your child be specific in describing bullying incidents: who, what, where, when. (Look for patterns or evidence of repeated bullying behaviors.)
2. Ask your child how s/he has tried to stop the bullying.
3. Coach your child in possible alternatives.
- Avoidance is often the best strategy.
- Play in a different place.
- Play a different game.
- Stay near a supervising adult when bullying is likely to occur.
- Look for ways to find new friends.
- Support your child by encouraging him/her to extend invitations for friends to play at your home or to attend activities.
- Involve your child in social activities outside of school. For more ways you can talk about bullying with your children, visit http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_What_Do_About/