What to do when a child is being bullied
HOW TO HELP A YOUNG VICTIM OF BULLYING?
1. Initiate the dialogue if you have suspicions. Ask questions and leave the door open for discussions if the child hesitates to confide in you.
2. Stay calm to reassure the young person and don’t blame them.
3. If they remain quiet, and you have serious suspicions, ask people in his friend circle, whom you can trust.
4. Advise the young person to remain with trustworthy friends and to avoid areas that are targeted by bullies.
5. Come up with an efficient way for them to counter the attack. Studies suggest that a passive reaction or manifesting fear or aggression when being bullied may encourage the attacker to continue.
A child who seeks your help may need encouraging words in addition to practical solutions. Try giving them one of the following solutions and use your judgement to adapt them according to the circumstances at hand:
• “Remain calm and try not to show that you are upset. Try not to get angry as that might make things worse.”
• “Look the person straight in the eye and tell them that you don’t like what they’re doing.”
• “Seek an adult whom you trust, as soon as you can, and tell them what happened. You have the right to be safe.”
• “If you are afraid to speak to an adult on you own, ask a friend to come with you.”
HOW DO I INFORM THE SCHOOL?
1. Inform the school by telephone. They should let you know how to proceed in order to put a stop to the situation within the next 48 hours.
2. If they fail to do so, send a letter to the administration, and a copy to the school board administration) and ask for a reply within 48 hours.
WHAT DO I DO IN THE CASE OF CYBERBULLYING?
1. Advise your child never to reply to intimidating messages.
2. Block the addresses of people who intimate your children. If need be, trace their addresses.
3. Ask your child to save the received bullying messages (print them if need be). These constitute important proof when the time comes to make an official disclosure.
4. If the bully attends the same school as your child, make a disclosure.
A LITTLE PREVENTION NEVER GOES AMISS.
1. Encourage your child to have contact with their friends outside the virtual world.
2. Have your child in your Facebook friend list and check who their friends are. Ask him about their relationship with him and teach him how to choose friends.
3. Place the computer in a common area (such as the living room) to facilitate parental supervision. This would allow you to check the content of the conversation that your child has and educate them on how to use this technology.
WHAT DO I DO WHEN MY CHILD IS THE BULLY?
1. Remain calm, listen to them and tell them that you take the situation most seriously.
2. Along with the school, intervene to stop the attacks.
3. Go back to the incident and dig deep to know the causes that lead your child to act that way.
4. Remind them of the importance of respecting others and their differences.
5. Arm them with different ways to manage their anger (consult a specialist: a therapist, a specialist in psychoeducation, etc.)
6. Spend more time with your child, check on their activities and get to know more about his friends.
7. Explain the possible consequences of bullying (expulsion, complaints to the police, etc.) in addition to those that the bullied person suffers (suicide, depression, etc.)