Has your child ever come home from school crying because someone was picking on them? It’s one of the worst feelings in a world as a parent and my wife and I have unfortunately dealt with it more times than we can count.
In order to think about how you can stop bullying as a parent, I thought to myself “what would I tell other parents who are in similar situations as us?”It seemed like an open-ended question.
Kids can be mean, cruel, and downright nasty in school, or any other school-related social settings. It’s a tough pill to swallow but there are countless stories every year about children being bullied and a tragedy occurring at a school or directly to the families themselves.
As a father, I try to teach my kids the values that were instilled in me by my mother and grandmother growing up about treating people the way you want to be treated.
I was made fun of in school for not having the freshest gear or having a lot of money, or keeping a cute girl n my arm, and it sucks but in a way it just pushes you to be better than anyone saying a negative comment about you.
So what are some of the things we can do as fathers to help our children when they are dealing with a bully? Here are some of the things you can start working on with your children today.
Teach Your Kids The Value of Themselves
Self-esteem can be a problem for any child going to school. Once they are on their own inside a classroom, lunchroom, or on the school bus they can be subjected to being called stupid, ugly, dirty, to name a few, and the sad part is your children will believe what their peers are saying!
You have to ensure them that nothing is further from the truth. Show them how valuable they are to your life and to the entire family. Positive encouragement when it comes to activities or school work can go a long way in building up their self-esteem.
One thing I explain to my kids is that just because says something mean about them doesn’t mean its true. They can always go to that person and explain why they disagree, and your child will come out of the entire situation as the bigger person.
Keep a Level Head
When I first found out one of my kids was being bullied on the bus, I’m not gonna lie I lost my cool! I thought my wife was going to turn into Bill Goldberg! We were furious! We did regain our composure. We were still really upset but we did not want to have our kids look at us like we were a bunch of out of control fools.
Now I get it. Your child(ren) is your heart. You would risk everything for them, and we would do the same for ours, but we also know that going off the deep end could have severe consequences not only for ourselves but for our children’s long-term future when dealing with tough situations in school.
Don’t get yourself so worked up you can’t think straight. Take a deep breath, get all the facts from your child, and report what you are finding to their school.
Report any issues to the school
Once you have found out that your child is being bullied at school, go directly to the principal. Hopefully, they can rectify the situation and come to a mutual agreement for everyone involved. I won’t get into the specifics of situations that happened to us last year, but for the most part, I feel like the principal handled things as best as he could.
There were problem children on the bus, he addressed them, he addressed their parents, and so far this year it seems like there haven’t been any issues.
Is it because some of the kids have gone on to a higher grade school? Possibly, but I also think he is really putting an emphasis on making sure the school bus our kids take doesn’t have the problems that a few parents had to deal with last year.
If you don’t want to make a big deal out of it or feel like it is a one time issue that won’t happen again, STOP. Look at the bigger picture, and realize if it happened one time it could (and probably will) happen again.
Never let something get to a point that it becomes too big for your family or the main school administrators to handle.
Pursue Higher Authority if the School Doesn’t Stop the Problem
So you go to your kid’s school, talk to the principal about your child being bullied and he/she says things will improve. However they don’t improve, and your child is still coming off of the bus or hopping into the car when you pick them up crying because of a bully. What do you do?
I’m not one for stirring up more trouble or putting someone who is trying to be helpful in a tough spot, but sometimes you have to go above their heads. If the principal isn’t being helpful, go to his boss. If his boss isn’t being helpful, reach out to someone who has a voice that will be heard (news reporter, local politician).
These are the types of people who can make sure that things will get handled the way you originally intended them to.
Open a Dialogue With the Parents (If Possible)
Sometimes the simplest way to solve a problem is going to the source. There are countless videos online of parents disciplining their children when they find out they have been bullying someone in school. Why? Because we all want our children to grow up to be decent, friendly human beings.
If your child is being bullied and you want to find out exactly why, try talking to the parents of the bully. Have it done in school if possible, because you don’t want to go to someone’s house if they end up wanting to fight or become hostile and aggressive?
If you can open a dialogue with the parents you may be able to come to the root of the problem between the two children. It may be something your child said that rubbed the other person the wrong way, or you can find out that the other kid just genuinely doesn’t like your child (it happens- but it doesn’t mean the bullying should be tolerated).
So take a chance on meeting the parents and see if things can get worked out in a civilized manner.
Talk About It With Your Child
If your child is being bullied and is adamant that they do not want you to go the school or approach the bullies parents, talk to them to find out what is making them hold back. Maybe they feel they can handle things on their own, maybe they have some elaborate revenge in mind (I’m not condoning it but sometimes bully need to get their comeuppance).
They may just need someone to talk to. It may not be at a point where they feel you need to step in, so sometimes just listening to them and giving advice will do wonders for their health.
If you are noticing your child is becoming more withdrawn after learning about the situation or isn’t eating or sleeping like normal, it might be time to look at other ways to get them to open up about the bullying.
Seeing a counselor in school, or a doctor recommended therapist can be a step in the right direction for your child.
So those are some of the tips you can use to stop your child from being bullied at school. Let me know what you think and don’t forget to subscribe to the email list right here.