What to do About Bullies at School

Bullying hurtsIncreasingly, bullying has been recognized as a serious problem. While many people used to see it as a childhood rite of passage, most now understand the devastating effects it can have. Even if a bully does no physical damage to your child, the emotional consequences can be quite serious. With more outlets than ever for bullies, learning how to help your child deal with bullies is more important than ever.

Catch the Warning Signs

Before you can help your child deal with bullies, it’s essential to be able to recognize the warning signs.  Damage to clothing or even to their personal belongings is a big one, as is unexplained injuries like bruising. If your child has very few friends and is performing poorly at school, you may want to consider bullying as part of the equation. A reluctance to go to school or even ride the bus could also suggest there is a problem. Additionally, issues like trouble sleeping, eating, or physical complaints like ongoing headaches are potential symptoms of a bullying problem.

The Next Steps

If you think there may be a problem, talk to your child. Feel free to schedule appointments with the teachers your child works with each day as well as his or her bus driver and even the principal. You also, however, need to teach your child how to handle the situation through prevention methods. Make sure they understand how to avoid the bully by taking a different route or asking the teacher to change seats in class. Help them understand how to stand tall and brave, even in the face of bullying and to feel good about themselves. Teaching them to ignore the bully and stand up for themselves is another good step. Additionally, helping them understand that bullying back or screaming at the bully isn’t going to alleviate the situation is essential as well. Involving your child in a brainstorming or problem solving process can help empower them and promote self-confidence.

While there are many things you can teach your child about how to handle bullies, it’s equally important that you step in and help out too. You need to learn as much as you possibly can about the situation, and find out how your child has responded during each incident. Contacting school officials is an absolute must. If your child has been physically harmed, the police may need to be involved with the situation. While you may feel like contacting the bully’s parents, this isn’t a good step to take. It’s only likely to make things worse. Be certain to follow up to make sure school officials deal with your concerns. If your child’s fear or anxiety seems to be at an overwhelming point, contacting a professional counselor can help, too. In a situation like this, your child needs your support, and letting them handle it alone can lead to lasting problems.

Real prevention starts by connecting with your child on a regular basis. The more time you spend talking to your children, the stronger bond you form. This can help to make certain your children come to you if any problems arise.

Image by zalouk webdesign on Flickr’s Creative Commons.

Pinkchic18 frequently writes about topics ranging from events to desserts, children and more. She also regulary contributes to the Parenting & New Baby Advice Blog, where you can find great ideas for baby shower gifts.