PARENTS

PARENTS

As parents, it can be difficult to get your kids to talk about their fears and hurts – especially when they are being bullied. Younger children need your help articulating what’s going on with them. Older children often keep their hardships to themselves out of a desire for independence or because they fear retaliation. By setting the right climate – listening, not lecturing – you can find out the facts and help put an end to the bullying.
– Dr. Edward F Dragan

Below you will find a bunch of resources written by experts in the USA and Australia to help parents if their child is being bullied, if their child is bullying others and steps parents can take at home and school to prevent bullying.


Ten Actions

Education.com published a Bullying Special Edition outlining 10 actions parents can take to prevent bullying, 10 actions if your child has been bullied, and 10 actions if your child is being bullied:


PREVENTION

TEN ACTIONS ALL PARENTS CAN TAKE TO HELP PREVENT BULLYING

Bullying Special Edition, copyright 2012, www.education.com/bullying

Research shows that one in three children is directly involved in bullying as a perpetrator, victim, or both. And many of those who are not directly involved witness others being bullied on a regular basis. No child is immune— kids of every race, gender, grade and socio-economic sector are impacted. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As parents we have the power to help reduce bullying. Here are Education.com’s top ten actions you can take to help address bullying:

  • 1. Talk with and listen to your kids—everyday.
    Research shows that adults are often the last to know when children are bullied or bully others. You can encourage your children to buck that trend by engaging in frequent conversations about their social lives. Spend a few minutes every day asking open ended questions about who they spend time with at school and in the neighborhood, what they do in between classes and at recess, who they have lunch with, or what happens on the way to and from school. If your children feel comfortable talking to you about their peers before they’re involved in a bullying event, they’ll be much more likely to get you involved after.
  • 2. Spend time at school
    Research shows that 67% of bullying happens when adults are not present. Schools don’t have the resources to do it all and need the help of parents to reduce bullying. Whether you can volunteer once a week or once a month, you can make a real difference just by being present and helping to organise games and activities that encourage kids to play with new friends. Be sure to coordinate your on-campus volunteer time with your child’s teacher and/or principal.
  • 3. Be a good example of kindness and leadership
    Your kids learn a lot about power relationships from watching you. When you get angry at a waiter, a sales clerk, another driver on the road, or even your child, you have a great opportunity to model effective communication techniques. Don’t blow it by blowing your top! Any time you speak to another person in a mean or abusive way, you’re teaching your child that bullying is OK.
  • 4. Learn the Signs
    4. Most children don’t tell anyone (especially adults) that they’ve been bullied. It is therefore important for parents and teachers to learn to recognise possible signs of being victimised, such as frequent loss of personal belongings, complaints of headaches or stomachaches, avoiding recess or school activities, and getting to school very late or very early. If you suspect that a child might be being bullied, talk with the child’s teacher or ind ways to observe his peer interactions to determine whether or not your suspicions might be correct. Talk directly to your child about what is going on at school.
  • 5. Create healthy anti-bullying habits early
    Help develop anti-bullying and anti-victimization habits early in your children-as early as preschool and kindergarten. Coach your children on what not to do-hitting, pushing, teasing, “saying na-na-na-na-na,” or being mean to others. Help your child to focus on how such actions might feel to the child on the receiving end (e.g., “How do you think you would feel if that happened to you?”). Such strategies can enhance empathy for others. Equally if not more important, teach your children what to do-kindness, empathy, fair play, and turn-taking are critical skills for good peer relations. Children also need to learn how to say “no” firmly if they experience or witness bullying behaviour. Coach your child about what to do if other kids are mean-get an adult right away, tell the child who is teasing or bullying to “stop,” walk away, ignore them and find someone else to play with. It may help to role play what to do with your child. And repetition helps: go over these techniques periodically with your kindergarten and early elementary school aged children.
  • 6. Help your child’s school address bullying effectively
    Whether your children have been bullied or not, you should know what their school is doing to address bullying. Research shows that “zero- tolerance” policies aren’t effective. What works better are ongoing educational programs that help create a healthy social climate in the school. This means teaching kids at every grade level how to be inclusive leaders and how to be empathic towards others and teaching victims effective resistance techniques. If your school does not have effective bullying strategies and policies in place, talk to the principal and advocate for change.
  • 7. Establish household rules about bullying
    Your children need to hear from you explicitly that it’s not normal, okay, or tolerable for them to bully, to be bullied, or to stand by and just watch other kids be bullied. Make sure they know that if they are bullied physically, verbally, or socially (at school, by a sibling, in your neighborhood, or online) it’s safe and important for them to tell you about it—and that you will help. They also need to know just what bullying is (many children do not know that they are bullying others), and that such behavior is harmful to others and not acceptable. You can help your children fnd positive ways to exert their personal power, status, and leadership at school. Work with your child, their teachers, and their principal to implement a kindness plan at school.
  • 8. Teach your child how to be a good witness or positive bystander
    Research shows that kids who witness bullying feel powerless and seldom intervene. However, kids who take action can have a powerful and positive effect on the situation. Although it’s never a child’s responsibility to put him or herself in danger, kids can often effectively diffuse a bullying situation by yelling “Stop! You’re bullying” or “Hey, that’s not cool.” Kids can also help each other by providing support to the victim, not giving extra attention to the bully, and/or reporting what they witnessed to an adult.
  • 9. Teach your child about cyberbullying
    Children often do not realise what cyberbullying is. Cyberbullying includes sending mean, rude, vulgar, or threatening messages or images; posting sensitive, private information about another person; pretending to be someone else in order to make that person look bad; and intentionally excluding someone from an online group. These acts are as harmful as physical violence and must not be tolerated. We know from research that the more time a teen spends online, the more likely they are to be cyberbullied—so limit online time. There’s a simple litmus test you can teach your children about online posting: if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face or you would not feel comfortable having your parents see it—don’t post it (or take it down now).
  • 10. Spread the word that bullying should not be a normal part of childhood
    7. Some adults hesitate to act when they observe or hear about bullying because they think of bullying as a typical phase of childhood that must be endured or that it can help children “toughen up.” It is important for all adults to understand that bullying does not have to be a normal part of childhood. All forms of bullying are harmful to the perpetrator, the victim, and to witnesses and the effects last well into adulthood (and can include depression, anxiety, substance abuse, family violence and criminal behaviour). Efforts to effectively address bullying require the collaboration of school, home, and community. Forward this list and articles you’ve read to all the parents, teachers, administrators, after-school care programs, camp counsellors, and spiritual leaders you know. Bullying is a serious problem, but if we all work together, it’s one we can impact.

Source: Education.com Bullying Special Edition, copyright 2012 http://www.education.com/

Guest Editors: Shelley Hymel, PhD, Amanda Nickerson, PhD, & Susan Swearer, PhD

Click here to download the full resource

MANAGEMENT

TEN ACTIONS PARENTS CAN TAKE IF THEIR CHILD HAS BEEN BULLIED

Bullying Special Edition, copyright 2012, www.education.com/bullying

If you think your child is being bullied, it’s time to take action now. Bullying is not something that just goes away on its own, it is not something that children can just “work out” without mediation, and it is not something kids will just naturally outgrow. If you know (or think) that your child is being bullied, your participation is critical to a successful outcome. Some suggested actions include:

  • 1. Make it safe for your child to talk to you
    When your child comes to you to talk about a bullying experience, try to avoid having an emotional reaction. It can be scary for a child to hear that a parent is planning to lash out at a peer or parent. Calmly ask questions until you feel you completely understand the situation (Is it bullying, a peer conflict, or a misunderstanding?). Try not to leap into action right away, but instead focus on making sure your child feels taken care of and supported. Without blaming the bully, remind your child that everyone has a right to feel safe and happy at school, and applaud the courage it took to take a stand and talk to you. Make a commitment to work with both your child and the school administration to resolve the issue.
  • 2. Teach your child to say “Stop!” or go Find an adult
    Research shows that most people who bully stop aggressive behaviour within 10 seconds when someone (either a victim or a bystander) tells the perpetrator to stop in a strong and powerful voice. You, as the parent, can role-play an assertive response. Demonstrate the differences between aggressive and assertive and passive voices, as well as body language, tone of voice, and words used. If staying “stop” with an assertive voice does not work, teach your child to find an adult right away.
  • 3. Talk with your child’s principal and classroom teacher about the situation
    Make it clear that you are committed to partner with the school in being part of the solution. Also emphasize that your expected outcome is that your child’s ability to feel safe and happy at school is fully restored. Ask the principal to share the school’s bullying policy, and make sure any action plan begins with notifying other teachers, recess aids, hallway monitors, and cafeteria staff so that everyone who comes in contact with your child can be on the lookout and poised to intervene should the bullying be repeated
  • 4. Arrange opportunities for your child to socialise with friends outside of school to help build and maintain a strong support system
    Try reaching out to neighbourhood parents, local community centres with after school activities, and your spiritual community. The more time your child can practice social skills in a safe environment, the better. Children who have friends are less likely to be bullying victims—and, if your child is bullied, friends can help ease the negative effects.
  • 5. Don’t go it alone
    When supporting a child through a bullying situation, parents often discover previously unnoticed issues that may contribute to the child’s vulnerability. In addition to working with the school to help resolve the immediate issue, parents should also consider reaching out to physical and mental healthcare providers to discuss concerns about diagnosed or undiagnosed learning issues, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, etc.
  • 6. Encourage your child to stick with a friend (or find someone that can act as a buddy) at recess, lunch, in the hallways, on the bus, or walking home
    Kids are more likely to be targeted when they are alone. If your child doesn’t have a friend to connect with, work with the school to help find someone to act as a safety partner.
  • 7. If cyberbullying is an issue, teach your child to bring it to the attention of an adult, rather than responding to the message
    Many children fail to realise that saying mean things about someone on the Internet or through text messaging is a form of bullying. Make sure your child knows that you take cyberbullying seriously, and that you’ll be supportive through the process of handling the situation.
  • 8. Help your child become more resilient to bullying
    There’s a lot parents can do to help “bully proof” their kids. Here are two biggies: first, provide a safe and loving home environment where compassionate and respectful behaviour is modelled consistently. Second, acknowledge and help your child to develop strengths, skills, talents or other positive characteristics. Doing so may help your kid be more confident among peers at school.
  • 9. Provide daily and ongoing support to your child by listening and maintaining ongoing lines of communication
    When your child expresses negative emotions about peers, it’s helpful if you acknowledge these feelings and emphasise that it’s normal to feel this way. After actively listening to the recounted bullying incident, discuss the practical strategies in this article together, especially the ones your child thinks will be most helpful.
  • 10. Follow Up
    Even after your child’s bullying situation has been resolved, be sure to stay in touch with your child and the school to avoid a relapse of the issues. Keep the lines of communication open with your child, and learn the signs of bullying so that if other issues arise, you’ll be prepared to get involved early and effectively. Although a last resort, consider moving your child out of the current school or social environment. This may be a necessary action, and it sends the message that your child truly does not have to tolerate such treatment. Once established, social reputations among peers can be very difficult to eliminate. A fresh start in a new school environment may be a viable solution.

Source: Education.com Bullying Special Edition, copyright 2012
http://www.education.com
Guest Editors: Shelley Hymel, PhD, Amanda Nickerson, PhD, & Susan Swearer, PhD

Click here to download the full resource

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Read our Get Help page and make a plan of action.

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Rosalind Wiseman on ineffective advice

As educators on this issue, we owe it to the families we work with to give them our best. We have to look at our standard protocols and advice and ask ourselves a very simple question: Do we give people effective information?

Among the advice I thought was most counterproductive?
“Ignore the bully.” By the time a child reaches out to an adult, the vast majority of kids have been dealing with the bullying and trying to ignore it for a long time. The only thing that happens when you tell a kid to ignore the bully, is that they no longer think you care or are capable of helping them.

“Explain to your child that bullies are weak and insecure.” Who cares? Even if that were true, the bullies themselves don’t believe it, and that fact doesn’t help the target respond effectively to the problem.

“To avoid being bullied develop friendships and remember there is safety in numbers.” This is an example of a tip that is simply not reflective of the reality of people’s lives. Sometimes bullies are your friends and very rarely do bullying prevention tips acknowledge this fact or what to do about it. Equally unhelpful and inadequate is “safety in numbers” because you can’t depend on that being the case. In truth there’s sometimes danger in numbers because people are often encouraged by the group to fight or at the least not back down from a situation.

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GREAT RESOURCES FOR PARENTS

Love is Louder: a BULLY discussion and action guide for parents

Tips on how to have a conversation with your child after watching BULLY. Also includes ideas for things parents can do to prevent bullying, create more inclusive communities and support students who may be struggling emotionally.

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The Parent Action Toolkit

Adapted from The Bully Action Guide: How to Help Your Child and Get Your School to Listen by Dr Edward F. Dragan. Includes advice on How To Talk to Your Child – from young children through to teenagers – and How to Approach The School.

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Ten Tips For Parents

Includes: Ten Actions All Parents Can Take to Help Eliminate Bullying; Ten Actions Parents Can Take if Your Child is Bullying Others; and Ten Actions Parents Can Take if Your Child Has Been Bullied.

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Bullying Among Young Children: A Guide For Parents

Prof. Ken Rigby provides advice to parents of children who attend preschools, kindergartens and primary schools on how they can work closely with teachers to help recognise and address problems of bullying behaviour as soon as they arise.

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SPECIAL NEEDS TOOLKIT: BULLY FREE WORLD

The U.S. National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD), AbilityPath, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, and Autism Speaks are proud to partner with BULLY to raise awareness about how bullying affects children with special needs.

VISIT WEBSITE

When the Advice is Ineffective

Bullying expert and author of Creating Cultures of Dignity, Rosalind Wiseman explains the most counterproductive advice that you can give your child and why that advice doesn’t work.

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Cyberbullying Prevention and Intervention Tips for Families

Created by The Anti-Defamation League this guide outlines steps you can take to prevent cyberbullying as well as guidelines to help you respond, if you learn your child/teen has experienced cyberbullying.

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Creating Just and Caring Communities

Created by the Bullying Prevention Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, this road map for parents includes some concrete things that parents can do to create just and caring communities that promote respect, responsibility, and readiness.

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10 Questions Primary School Parents Can Ask to Make Their Children’s Schools More Caring and Safe Places

Created by the Bullying Prevention Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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10 Questions High School Parents Can Ask to Make Their Schools More Caring and Safe Places

Created by the Bullying Prevention Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Interactive resource by the Ad Council

This interactive resource helps parents have conversations with their children and empower parents to stand up for their children effectively.

Visit full site http://stopbullying.adcouncil.org/bully

Does your school need a prevention program?


The BULLY Project Educators Toolkit is based around Social and Emotional Learning.
The documentary film BULLY is the centrepiece used to engage and inspire empathy.
Mapped to the Australian Curriculum, National Safe Schools Framework and AITSL Teaching Standards.
Take a look at the Toolkit and send it on to your school.

CHECK OUT THE TOOLKIT

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