Strategies for Helping Your Child Deal with Bullying

Different Types of Bullying

Bullying is when a person is exposed repeatedly, and over time, to the negative actions of one, or more persons. Listed below are four types of bullying and a few ways to cope with each.

Physical pushing, hitting, kicking, biting, taking possessions from, or hurting someone’s body in any way.

Parents can help by encouraging your child to…

-Report immediately

-Not fight back

-Look the person in the eye, tell him to stop and walk away

-Avoid going where this usually happens (when possible) and let an adult know where this tends to happen

-Try to avoid getting visibly emotional (raise voice, cry, run, anger outbursts, etc.) People who bully love to make you lose control!

-Run if in danger!!!

Emotional by hurting another person’s self-worth by name calling, insulting, gestures, eye rolling, staring, threatening, intimidating, challenging in public, put downs, or hurting someone verbally in any way.

Parents can help by encouraging your child to…

-Act like it doesn’t bother him

-Ignore it

-Agree with him

-Say something funny

-Change the subject

-Have a "cue" to get the teachers attention

-Tell him how you feel and you wish they’d stop

-Role play the "comebacks" above, and if none of them work…report, or report anyway. Make sure your child knows 3-4 comebacks by memory. (Also checkout the following website: www.bullystoppers.com for "comebacks" and other resources.

Social by hurting a person’s group acceptance by gossiping, spreading rumors, playing tricks on, insulting their race/gender, arranging public humiliation, undermining relationships, trying to ruin their reputation, excluding someone, or trying to disrupt someone’s friendships in any way.

Parents can help by…

-Letting your child know it’s not their fault

-Holding them accountable when they bully others

-Avoid giving a solution. Help them brainstorm a strategy

-Asking, "Do they treat all of the kids this way?" If not, ask "Who is doing this?" Ask, "How do they treat the other kids?"

-Encouraging them to try out their strategy, and if it doesn’t work they might consider new friends

-Helping your child to remember that the most important thing is to "ACT LIKE IT DOESN’T BOTHER THEM"

Electronic - by hurting someone through the use of text messages, phone calls, chat rooms, emails, photos, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, blogs, twitter, or any other type of electronic means.

Parents can help by…

-Having rules and consequences for misuse of electronic devices (Absolutely no use of "on line slang", vulgar language, etc.)

-Not allowing cable TV, or computers in your child’s room

-Installing monitoring equipment and filtering software (www.websafety.com and www.safefamilies.org)

-When cyber bullied, send a firm, non-threatening message asking for all communication to stop

-Saving and printing out evidence of any cyber bullying (Screen Shot the message)

-Send a copy of the cyber bullying message to the school and other parent(s). Avoid contacting the other parent while angry or sending a negative electronic message in reply

-Turning in all threatening electronic contacts to the Police

-Having your child sign an internet/cell phone use contract (sample at www.safekids.com)

-Teaching: Ignore, Sign Off, Block and Report

-Helping your child learn to communicate without the use of electronic devices by solving problems face to face

-Setting a good example

Note: It is not considered bullying when students tease each other in a playful/friendly way. Also, it is not bullying when two students of about equal strength/power (could use physical or social power) argue, or fight. To be considered bullying) the behavior occurs repeatedly and over time) and there’s an imbalance of power in some way.

Points for Parents

"If your child is being bullied"

If your child gives you an indication that he/she is being bullied, believe your child and record the information. Remember to write down where and when it happened, who was involved, and the type of bullying that took place

Take the initiative and talk with your child. Ask for specifics and write them down. If a child doesn’t volunteer information easily ask open-ended questions like "Tell me about your day?"

Contact the school immediately. Share your written log of the bullying incident with the administrator. Ask the principal or counselor to discuss a plan to stop the bullying behavior in addition to a safety plan, if there is retaliation by the child who is bullying.

Role-play scenarios to develop more resistance skills at home. Concentrate on non-verbal cues such as stance, voice inflections, and eye contact. Etc. Ask the school counselor for help with "comebacks".

Investigate if your child is more of a passive or proactive victim. Have you heard that your child sometimes annoys, provokes others or has a short temper (proactive), or is shy, sensitive, physically weaker, low self-image, becomes easily upset (passive). If it’s "proactive", sometimes you can help your child change certain things that make him/her more of a target. Even if your child is a "proactive victim" it doesn’t give others the right to bully him/her, but it sometimes does make it more understandable.

Please DO NOT do the following:

Confront the child who is bullying and/or parents

Ask your child to stand up to the bullying with physical force

Blame your child for being bullied

Keep the bullying a secret

Let your child hear you talk negatively about his/her school, teachers, or administrators