Parent Tips for Addressing Child Bullying Issues

While we all wish it were not the case, the fact remains that bullying remains prevalent and common among kids of varying ages. School environments are often where bullying either begins or is exacerbated, but there are things both educators and parents alike can do to combat instances of bullying and help support kids who are being picked on.

At Summit Academy, we're proud to offer numerous caring support services to all our students and their parents, and these cover everything from our charter school curriculum and student needs to issues of bullying or any related problems. What are some of the types of bullying that parents and educators need to be watching out for, and what can parents to do manage situations of bullying? We'll primarily go over how to assist children who are being bullied for most of this blog, but stay tuned until the end for some additional tips for parents of children who have engaged in bullying practices themselves.

Kinds of Bullying

There are a few different forms of bullying that are found among kids today, including:

  • Verbal bullying: This is the most common type of bullying and involves name calling, teasing, or making offensive remarks.
  • Physical bullying: Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, pinching, shoving and other forms of physical aggression. It's more common among boys than girls, though girls can engage in it as well.
  • Social bullying: This type of bullying involves excluding others or spreading rumors about them. It's not usually physical, but it can have long term effects on a child's self esteem and social life.
  • Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, or intimidate another person. It can be done anonymously and is common among younger generations.

If you suspect or know that your child is being bullied, our next few sections will go over how to address and manage this situation.

Being Observant

First and foremost, it's important to know that many kids will try to hide the fact that they are being bullied, so it's important to be vigilant if you suspect that something is wrong. Pay attention to any changes in your child's behavior and mood, as these can provide clues into what is going on even if your child keeps quiet about it. Also, take note of any physical signs of bullying such as bruises, scrapes, or other injuries.

Talk to Your Child

Once you have an idea that something may not be right, it's important to start a conversation with your child and try to get more information. Let them know that they can tell you anything without fear of punishment. Ask open ended questions like “What happened at school today?"

These kinds of questions can give you a better picture of the situation and how it might be impacting your child.

Creating a Home Safe Space

As you and your child work through the issue, it's important to create a safe space for them at home. Offer your child understanding and support, and make sure that they know you are there for them no matter what.

For instance, you might create a rule that no one is allowed to tease or joke about your child's experience, and have consequences in place for any family members who don't follow this rule. Additionally, you can offer positive reinforcements whenever they do something brave like stand up to the bully or tell an adult what's going on.

Setting Up Future Strategies and Boundaries

Another key element of helping your child deal with bullying is giving them the tools to avoid it in the future. For starters, speak to them about ways of responding to bullies that won't get them into trouble.

For instance, suggest they stay calm and just leave the area if possible or come up with a line that makes it clear that teasing is not acceptable. Some examples include “That isn’t funny" or “I don’t like it when you say that.”

Additionally, you can discuss with your child some boundaries for how they should interact with others online and in person. Many issues of cyberbullying, for instance, can be avoided by setting up strong privacy settings and teaching your child not to respond to online aggression.

Tips for Parents of Bullies

Finally, if you have reason to believe that your child is engaging in bullying behaviors themselves, it's important to address this as soon as possible. Open a dialogue with them about why they chose these behaviors and why it's important to treat others with kindness and respect. In many cases, especially among younger kids, those engaging in this behavior are often doing so as a coping mechanism and don't entirely realize why it's wrong.

Discuss potential consequences for their behavior, such as having them apologize or do community service, if appropriate. It is equally important to focus on positive reinforcement when they demonstrate empathy and understanding.

Above all else, remember that your child may be engaging in bullying behaviors because of underlying issues such as low self-esteem. If this is the case, consider speaking to a mental health professional who can provide more in depth assistance and help your child find constructive ways to manage these issues.

In conclusion, tackling situations of bullying takes care, understanding and time. Whether you are dealing with a situation of bullying or having a child engaging in this behavior, remember that open communication and proper guidance are key to helping your child better understand how to handle these complex issues.

For more on this, or to learn about any of our quality charter school programs or services, speak to our staff at Summit Academy today.