Safety at SchoolBullying
What can I do if my child is being bullied?
If your child is being bullied it is not always easy for you as a parent to know when and how to support.
The first step is to stay calm and try and get all the facts. While it may be a case of bullying, it might also simply be the result of poor communication by one or both children. Kids often speak before they think and misunderstandings happen easily, especially online. By taking the time to understand the situation and remaining calm, you are helping your child.
Sometimes, as a first step, your child may just want some advice about things they could do the try to manage the situation. At other times it is important that action is taken immediately.
It is important to:
- Listen calmly to your child.
- Show concern and support.
- Let your child know that telling you about the bullying was the right thing to do.
- Find out where and when it has been happening, who has been involved and if anyone else has seen it.
- Discuss the things your child has already done to try to solve the problem and suggest other things your child might try.
- Report the situation to your child’s school.
- Work with your child’s school to solve the problem.
- Encourage your child to report any further bullying incidents to a teacher they trust at the school.
- Let your child know how much you disapprove of bullying and why.
Technology has increased the ways bullying can happen. Mobile phones, emails, websites, chat rooms, social networking sites or instant messaging can all be used to bully others. If you believe your child is being cyberbullied, don’t ban them from the technology. Technology has an increasingly important role for young people both for their social development and in their learning. Discourage them from rereading the upsetting messages or comments because it compounds the hurt and throws the whole incident out of perspective. Do try to find ways for them to enjoy themselves away from the computer, doing the things that make them feel good about themselves.
Children often worry about being labelled “a dobber” and beg parents not to tell the school. However, bullying is a serious matter which is unlikely to be resolved if it’s ignored. Schools are able to manage the situation and provide effective support when they have all the facts. As a parent or caregiver, you have an important part to play in helping your child, and the school deal with bullying.
Don’t approach the other students involved. No parent will appreciate you reprimanding their child and it will always make the situation much worse than if you remain calm and go through the right channels by contacting the school.
Your school’s Anti-bullying Plan will outline how bullying can be reported at your school, but you can always make an appointment with your school principal.
You may like to take your partner or a friend with you to the meeting, and that’s normally fine too. Just let the principal know. If you need an interpreter, the school can arrange that. Be sure to tell them when you make the appointment.