I was combing through the bathroom archives (you know that thick stack of reading material that you keep under the cabinet in the loo?) and found a “Best Life ” magazine from 2008. There was a great article in there about how one father handled the situation when his child was being bullied. This article stirred up a lot of emotions in me, partly because I was bullied as a child and also because an 11 year old here in GA (Jaheem Herrera) hung himself as a consequence of having been the victim of bullying.
I had also noticed on Mamapedia a question from a Mom who is at her wits end because her girls are being bullied and she absolutely does not know what to do about it. So for anyone out there who’s child is a victim and also for RS in Kansas City, I want to share
How To Deal With School Bullies When Your Child is the Victim
The first step in handling bullying is actually learning how to recognize that your child is being bullied. But it’s hard to look for some of these symptoms if no one is at home when your child comes from school every afternoon. I was bullied because I was an immigrant, I talked funny, the other kids hated me so they beat me up every afternoon like clockwork.
My Mom was a single parent and a nurse who worked the swing shift – that’s 3Pm to 12AM. Since she was usually not home when I got home, I don’t think she ever knew what was going on. Strive to be there for your children after school, it’s really so very important. Look for symptoms such as :
- a sudden loss of appetite
- or your child is ravenous when she gets home because she isn’t eating
- your child is sleeping more than usual
- your child is restless and can’t sleep at all
- your child pretends to be ill to get out of going to school or looks for reasons to stay inside
How does a parent handle bullying? Isn’t this one of those things that kids should “work through”? Shouldn’t the school take care of this? I got lucky, I had my sister Penny who was fearless and put a stop to the whole bullying thing for me. But your child may only have you to help them, and help them you must, the loss of self-esteem associated with bullying can follow a child into adulthood and define the kind of person they become.
The important thing to remember is to create and leave a paper trail. in the case here in GA the school and county deny that the parents ever asked them to address the issue. Here are a few tips from that article that I read in the bathroom:
- Talk to your child and find out exactly what is going on, have him name the people involved.
- Arrange one meeting with as many school administrators present as possible: the principal, the vice principal, your child’s teacher, the guidance counselor, the dean
- Address the issue at the meeting, ask that they keep this person (s) away from your child. If they want to take a “boys will be boys” attitude then make sure to throw in words like “civil rights are being violated” and other terms that make it seem you are willing to take further (possibly legal) action.
- Write a letter to all parties after the meeting listing the items discussed an agreements reached. Keep a copy of this letter, a little paper goes a long way to proving your case should this situation escalate.
- Contact the parents of the bully or bullies in question, let them know that some tension exists between your children and you plan to do your est to keep your child away from theirs and you would like them to do the same. Let them know that you have had a meeting with school administrators (chances are they will then call the school, which now makes this a very important issue to administrators).
- Follow up by writing a letter to the parents summarizing your discussion , the issue at hand, and the solutions that you both proposed. Keep copies of these letters.
The bottom line is that you cannot control other people’s children, nor do you want to be the Mom or Dad in the schoolyard tussling with a bully and embarrassing the heck out of yourself and your child. But people can and usually will control their own kids if they feel that they have something to lose by not doing so.
How about you, have you been bullied or had to deal with bullying in your child’s life? What solutions worked for you?