6 Things to Teach Your Child About Bullying at School

When one student targets another student, and undermines him/her with physical and verbal abuse, the repercussions resonate through the student community. Bullied students are more likely to act out violently in school. Often high-achieving, bullied students also can begin to lose interest in academics. The classroom dynamic suffers. Before bullying affects your children and their emotional well-being, learn how you can prepare them for encounters with bullies. Read our tips about what you can teach your children about bullying in school.

Coach and Practice Empathy

Though we often worry about our children being the bullied party, they just as easily can be the perpetrators of bullying. Empathy doesn’t come as naturally to children as it does to adults. Therefore, it’s easy for them to write off another student and not to consider their feelings. To prevent apathy in your child, lead by example. Treat others with kindness and understanding in front of your children. Every time you lose your temper and get on your high horse, your child learns that self-righteous indignation is okay. Every time you let something go and take an incident less personally, your child learns that acceptance is the answer.

Show Them How to Put Up Appropriate Boundaries

No one should tolerate bullying. This includes students who witness bullying. Explain to your children that they have to tell a bully to stop, often repeatedly. It’s critical for a bullied student or a witness of a bullying incident to maintain their ground nonviolently. Kids often don’t know how to assert appropriate boundaries, especially with other students. Teach your kids how to say no, and why it’s important to keep saying no to bullies. Self-advocacy represents an important life skill, and this represents a great opportunity to starting working on it with your children.

Hiding Isn’t Solving the Problem

Bullying often goes under the radar because students try to hide it. Bullied kids can feel ashamed and, as a result, they avoid seeking help. Hiding, instead of addressing the problem, exacerbates the social and emotional repercussions that arise from bullying.  

Encourage Communication with Teachers and Other Third-Party Adults

Teachers sometimes don’t recognize what’s going on between students. Other times they will see a bullied student acting out in response to abuse, and misidentify him/her as the bullying student. Between teachers’ lack of recognition of bullying in schools and student’s attempt to hide bullying, much goes unnoticed. Therefore, it’s critical to increase communication on all fronts.  Tell your children to approach teachers and other adults at school and communicate what’s going on.

Explain That Immediate Action Is Necessary

Bullying escalates, often quickly. Children tend to wait until their situation at school is dire before they say anything about the bullying they are experiencing. Your children should talk to you and their teachers about the bullying they’ve experienced after the first incident.

Take Legal Action

Sometimes bullying gets out of control, and the only measure left is to take legal action. If you think the bullying your child has experienced has reach a point of no return, it’s time to seek counsel from an attorney like Ravi Sattiraju, a harassment attorney in New Jersey and Princeton.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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