WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?


 
 
Ask your child if he/she is being bullied?

Of course, you hope your child will tell you as soon as there is a problem with bullying. The truth is this doesn't always happen. In fact, many children keep bullying to themselves – perhaps feeling that telling someone will make the bullying even worse. Your child may not tell you no that they are being bullied because they feel confused. They may feel the bullying is their own fault, or they’re worried about how you’ll react. When your child finally tells you that they are being bullied, they need to feel believed and listened to; develop trust in how you can handle it; talk more openly about what has happened; gain some control over what is happening; learn things they can do to protect themselves and regain their self confidence. It helps when parents involve the children in making decisions about what to do, listen to what children say and tell them you understand. 

Don't get Angry!

It does not help when parents get angry or upset, feel guilty or ashamed, make the child think that it is not important, blame the child, blame the school, accuse people without knowing the facts, look for scapegoats, or demand to know all the details at once and look for easy solutions. Many parents do get angry, quite understandably, and want to go to the school and sort it out NOW! This may not be the best first best step.  For one thing, the child will almost certainly be reluctant to involve the school straight away because it is something they would rather keep quite and not have spread around.  The child may feel at risk of the bully taking revenge.

Talk with your child about it...

As a first step, encourage your child to talk through it as much as they may want so you get the basic facts straight. Try to keep an open mind, remembering you are hearing one part of the story only. Ask questions gently, and help the child reflect on what has been done so far, help the child work out what might be done.  It is important to find out what happened: who was involved, where, when, and did anybody else see it, and if so, who? 
It is a good idea to write down what you find out.

Contact the School...

NEVER try and sort out the bullies yourself.  This rarely works and often makes matters worse.  Once you have a clear picture of the situation, and some idea about how you and your child would prefer to handle it, contact the school.  Make an appointment to see the principal or class teacher or whomever you think would be best to see. DON’T barge in.  Present the information you have as calmly as possible.  Do it in a way that makes it clear to the school that you see yourself and the school as partners in trying to fix the problem. Tell the school what you and your child would like to do, and ask them for ideas as well. Give the school time to get back to you because they will need to investigate the matter and by talking to teachers, other students, and even other parents if that’s the best thing to do, and to  make a note of what the school says it will do, and arrange to make a follow-up call to see what has been done. 

If you are not satisfied with the school’s response, please contact The Burin Peninsula School Board at 891-6100.


What if my child is being bullied by others?

If you find that your child is bullying others, you will need become involved and actively stop this behavior.

Here are seven steps you can take:

  1. Make it clear to your child that you take bullying seriously and that you will not tolerate this behavior.
  2. Develop clear and consistent rules within your family for your children’s behavior.
  3. Praise and reinforce your children for following rules and using non-physical, non-hostile consequences for rule violations.
  4. Spend more time with your child, and carefully supervise and monitor their activities. Find out who your child’s friends are, and how and where they spend their free time. 
  5. Build on your child’s talents by encouraging them to get involved in pro-social activities such as clubs, music lessons, non-violent sports. 
  6. Share your concerns with your child’s teacher, counselor, and/or principal. 
  7. Work together to send clear messages to your child that the bullying must stop. 
  8. If you and/or your child need additional help, talk with a school counselor and/or mental health professional.