When you first have kids, you like to think that you will always be there to protect them from any negative situations that may arise. But when they start school, that is a big part of the day where you can’t be there to supervise them.
Some school issues are minor and can be dealt with in a single conversation while others are more serious and may require an education lawyer. Bullying is certainly one of the trickiest problems to handle, but it is something that a lot of kids go through at one time or another (I did!). Here are a few steps to take if your child is going through a bullying problem:
Listen to Your Child: The first thing to do is to listen to your child about what has been going on. Sometimes, they won’t come to you directly, but you should look out for any signs of emotional distress, like becoming particularly quiet and withdrawn. When you are listening to them, try to avoid becoming too emotional, but instead you should try to calmly reassure them that this is not their fault. Of course, some action needs to be taken but you need to think about the right thing to do before rushing in headfirst.
Things to Avoid: The reaction that most kids dread is that you go immediately to speak to the head teacher or the bully’s parents. And you should also avoid telling them to hit or call names back as this can cause the problem to quickly escalate. And definitely avoid dismissing the experience as just something they have to go through when they are growing up. School should be a safe haven for kids, not somewhere that they dread going because of being bullied.
Helping Your Kids Deal with the Issue: Many bullies are looking to draw a reaction out of the kids they pick on, so try to encourage your child to appear confident even if they don’t feel it. If your child gives the impression that they aren’t bothered by what is being said, the bullies are more likely to get tired of it and move on. Encouraging your kids to join some social or sporting activities can help to boost their confidence when they are at school.
Getting Support From the School: If the issue continues, it may be time to get support from the school. The anti-bullying policy varies from place to place, so you should look up what your child’s school is before taking action. You should always make an appointment with the teacher you want to see rather than turning up unexpectedly. Find out how they think is best to proceed and make sure to follow this up to see how successful they have been.
Dealing With Your Own Feelings: You will probably have a whole range of emotions going through your system, so you should try talking with people who are close to you and get advice from a range of different sources. If you know parents whose kids have also gone through this issue, they may be a good place to start.
A child’s education is so important and a bully standing in the way of that is something that should never be tolerated!
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