Information for Parents
How can parents tell if a child is being bullied?
- If your child tells you about the same individual “bothering” him frequently, try to find out more about the circumstances.
- Changes in your child’s habits, such as suddenly being unwilling to go places or to do things she usually does, can be your child’s way of trying to avoid a bully.
- Increased irritability, lack of sleep and nightmares are signs something is just not right with your child.
- Lost or damaged clothing or possessions, although part of life at times, can be a signal of bullying if the explanation doesn’t match the degree of loss or damage, or if it becomes a frequent event.
- Falling grades, depression and stomach aches may be linked to distress. Talk to the school where marks are affected,and to your child’s doctor in the case of depression or stomach problems.
What can parents do if their child is being bullied?
A child who is being bullied needs to hear the following messages:
- I hear you and believe you.
- We will work together to solve this problem.
- This is not your fault.
Report the bullying to school personnel immediately if it happens at school or involves a student from the school. Report it to coaches or group leaders if it is happening in a sports or social grouping. They need facts - the dates, times, places, students involved, students who may have seen or heard it, specifics about the incident and the impact on your child.
What if your child has witnessed bullying?
In most bullying incidents, witnesses are present, so there is a good chance your child has seen and heard bullying. Encourage your child to walk away and report bullying. Teach your children that there is a difference between tattling, which is just to get someone in trouble, and reporting, which is to get someone help. Help your child feel comfortable telling you about bullying.
What if your child is a bully?
- Explain to your child that this behaviour is unacceptable. It is not a joke. It is not funny.
Provide effective, non-violent consequences for your child’s actions.
Help and expect your child to understand how the other person may feel, decide how to fix the damage, and change the behaviour and underlying beliefs.
Increase supervision, establish reasonable rules and curfews, and decrease your child’s exposure to violent television, video games and music.
Increase your child’s awareness of social justice issues and principles by discussing global examples of misuse of power and control and identifying bullying in the world.
Teach your child to value diversity