Kids may be afraid or ashamed to tell adults about a
bully. Some parents don't intervene because they think kids should work it out
on their own. What can you do to help your kids protect themselves from a bully?
At Jefferson we believe that bullying of any kind is
unacceptable. All students should be free from worries about being bullied. What
can parents do to help children deal with bullying? Here are some tips:
-Listen to your child and encourage him or her to tell you when
bullying has taken place. Explain the difference between tattling and telling.
Tattling is when you report something just to get someone in trouble. Telling is
when you report that you or someone else needs help.
-If your child is a witness to bullying, he or she should not
join in or laugh at it.
-Tell your child that bullying should always be reported to an
adult when someone is hurt or unsafe, when the bullying continues, and when
other strategies have not worked.
-Talk with your child about bullying and the strategies he or
she has already tried. Remind your child to stay calm and confident and to use
-Monitor your child's Internet and cell phone use and encourage
him or her to inform you if others are sending inappropriate messages.
-Model and discuss nonaggressive ways to resolve problems or
conflicts. Don't tell your child to fight back.
-Help and encourage your child to develop friendships. Children
with friends are less likely to be bullied.
-Rather than provide advice or solutions to everyday problems,
encourage your child to use problem-solving skills. Help him or her find new
alternatives and solutions.
-Help your child practice skills such as cooling down, acting
confident, negotiating, listening actively to others, and using I
messages when resolving problems with siblings or others at home.
-Praise your child for his or her efforts to resolve problems.
Focus on the positive things your child does. Provide opportunities for your
child to make appropriate choices and help turn mistakes into positive learning
-If your child is bullying others, explain to him or her why
this behavior is not acceptable. Establish rules and consequences and supervise
your child's activities outside of school.
Get more information on preventing and dealing with bullying at:
Contact your child's teacher, the counselor or the school office
(425-385-7400) if you suspect your child or another child is being bullying.
Bullies. Every school has them. They taunt, tease, shove, and beat up other kids. Indirect bullying -- where kids are ignored or excluded -- can be just as devastating as a physical assault, say experts.
To Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center, bullying is "one of the most underrated but enduring problems in schools today." In the U.S., surveys show that as many as one in four kids say they've been bullied recently in school.
Kids may be afraid or ashamed to tell adults about a bully. Some parents don't intervene because they think kids should work it out on their own. What can you do to help your kids protect themselves from a bully?
- Encourage your kids to tell you, a teacher, or another adult when they're having a problem. It's important for them to let someone know early, before the situation escalates.
- Explain the difference between tattling and telling. Tattling is when you report something just to get someone in trouble. Telling is when you report that you or someone else is in danger.
- Insist on the buddy system to and from school and in the neighborhood. Children give each other support, and a child who has friends is less of a target. "This can be hard to do when kids don't have a lot of friends," says Jeannette Collins of the New Jersey Center for Assault Prevention. "Parents should encourage their kids to reach out to other kids. That way they can watch out for one another."
- Consider enrolling your child in a self-defense course. "People think the training will escalate the violence," says a mother whose son was bullied. "But it's just the opposite -- it stresses self-discipline, self-control, and self-esteem, not aggression."
- Turn off the TV. Too many shows reinforce the idea that aggression is the only way to deal with conflicts.
- Let your school know your safety worries. Suggest closer supervision in hallways, bathrooms, lunchrooms, under stairways, and on the playground. Your kids have the right to feel safe at school, so find out what your school's policies on bullies are.
- Ask the school or PTA to sponsor safety training workshops and to initiate a peer mediation program, in which staff and students are trained in nonviolent conflict resolution. For more information, contact the National Center for Assault Prevention, 609-582-7000, or the National School Safety Center, 805-373-9977.
- Studies have shown that children are also bullied online, via instant messaging or email. Parents are often unaware of this problem, since many children do not report it to their parents. Bullies may find the anonymous nature of email and instant messaging an attractive means of threatening their victims. To help your child avoid cyber bullying, monitor his Internet use by keeping the computer in the family room, or another common room in your house, and teach your child never to open email or accept instant messages from an unknown sender. If your child does receive a harassing message, teach him not to reply and to let you know right away. You can contact your Internet Service Provider to block the sender from your email, or use the "block" or "ban" feature on your instant messaging program to deter the cyber bully.