When a kid is bullied, the experience often leaves the child’s parents feeling emotional, discouraged and completely powerless – which fortunately isn’t the case. While you can’t keep negative experiences out of your child’s life, you do have the power to healthily handle bullying, and help your child do the same. If your child tells you that he or she has been bullied, follow the tips below.
When your child has been bullied, it’s normal to feel emotional, but it’s important not to act on your anger, sadness or fear. Calmly listening to your child and carefully considering the next steps will allow you to provide more stable support and make more rational decisions.
Get the facts.
If your child confides in you that he or she has been bullied, never dismiss their story. While teasing and taunting happens all too often among children, it should never be written off as “a normal part of growing up.” Ask your child for details of the incident, and document everything they tell you.
Identify what went wrong.
After you get the full story from your child, list out each of the details you feel constitute bullying. If the bullying occurred at school, compare the episode to the bullying policy at your child’s school, and highlight the parts of the policy that the incident violated.
Contact an authority.
If the incident occurred at school, contact the teacher and/or principal, and set up a time to discuss the bullying, in person if possible. If the incident was truly heinous and you fear for your child’s health and safety, consider contacting the police.
Give the school or authorities time to resolve the issue, then follow up to ensure it is being resolved. When you call, be sure to note any positive strides you have noticed.
Support your child.
Most importantly, pay close attention to your child during this time. Support them by listening whenever they need someone to talk to, and letting them know you are doing everything you can to resolve the issue. If you notice your child withdrawing from social situations, is consistently sad, is highly irritable or experiences changes in appetite or sleep patterns, make an appointment with a mental health professional to see if your child would benefit from counseling.
Baptist Health is committed to caring for the children in our community – physically, emotionally and mentally. We offer parents information on bullying, how you can prevent it and how you can help your child. If you would like to speak to a mental health professional about your child, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.