It didn't take long for bullying to rear its ugly head this school year. In just the first few weeks, school officers have already seen the effects of bullying and are dealing with the bullies, the bullied, parents and teachers. It's important for parents to be well versed in the issue of bullying and what to do about it.
How can you tell if your child is being bullied? Be concerned if your child...
Is frightened of walking to/from school, is unwilling to go to school, begs to be driven to school or changes his/her walking route.
Begins to do poorly in school.
Comes home regularly with belongings destroyed or missing.
Has unexplained cuts or bruises, stops eating or begins to have nightmares.
Becomes withdrawn, distressed or suicidal.
What can you do if your child is being bullied?
Listen and be supportive - take bullying seriously!
Reassure your child that it isn't his/her fault.
Ask how they've been dealing with it.
Talk about what actions you can both take to solve the problem.
Promise to consult your child before taking any action.
Talk to school administrators and ask what they can do to help.
Suggest the school contact the bully's parents.
Ask that bullies be kept after school until other children have left.
Encourage the school to develop a "no bullying" policy, if they don't already have one.
Contact your School Officer, or contact the Bully Hotline by texting 233-SAVE (7283), emailing email@example.com or calling 490-SAVE (7283) for help.
How can you help your child deal with bullying?
Ask your child to try to ignore the bully, tell the bully to stop and then walk away if bullying starts.
Encourage your child to tell a trusted adult - explain this isn't ‘squealing' - your child has a right to be safe.
Help your child develop a list of trusted adults they can phone or go to for help.
Arrange to meet your child if the bullying is happening on the way to/from school.
Monitor their social media usage.
What can you do if your child is bullying?
Don't bully or hit your child - it will make the situation worse.
Try to find out why your child is behaving this way.
Explain that bullying is wrong and try to get your child to understand what it's like for the victim.
Talk about how your child might stop bullying and show them how to get along with others without bullying.
Praise your child when he/she interacts appropriately with others.
Monitor your child's social media use and explain that threats made on-line are serious and can constitute a criminal offence.
Set realistic, firm guidelines to help your child control behaviour.
Talk with a teacher, guidance counsellor or principal at your child's school.
Model non-violent behaviour at home. If appropriate, consider an anger management program for yourself and your child.
If the situation is serious, enlist the help of a counsellor or psychologist.
Need more info? Check out http://www.halifax.ca/Police/Programs/bullying.html