It is a terrible feeling knowing that your child is being bullied at school. We have all heard horror stories of extreme harassment. No child deserves to be tormented. Try these steps to help your child during this tough time.
1. Get the other parents involved. If you know the parents of the child or children that are doing the bullying, contact them. Obtain some cold, hard evidence to show them such as a text message, an email, or a social networking page that proves the abuse. A lot of parents have no idea what their children are up to with their cell phones and computers. If the abuse is occurring at school and no technology is involved, be specific about where the bullying is taking place and what is being said or done. Try not to be accusatory, but ask for their help. The average parent does not want their child bullying other children. Remind the other parent of instances of suicide among children that are bullied. Let them know that you don’t want child to be one of them. This is a hard area for me, but I have found that talking to the other parent honestly and without judgment often times helps with the situation.
2. Go to the top. I have also had a situation with one of my children where I knew that talking to the other parents would not help. If talking to the child’s parents doesn’t work, if you don’t know how to contact them, or don’t feel comfortable talking with them, go straight to the school principal. The principal is going to contact any teachers that need to be spoken to. Be specific with what is being said and done to your child no matter how embarrassing the circumstances might be. Make it more personal for your child’s principal by asking him or her how they would feel if it were their child.
3. Check back. After talking to the parents or principal check back with them to see what progress has been made. Ask your child to keep you updated as well. My husband once had to go back to the principal a second time because our child was still being harassed at school. The problem diminished significantly after the problem was addressed a second time.
4. Leave it to the man. It has been my experience that people take men more seriously than they do women. If it is possible, the father of the child being bullied needs to talk to the other parents and/or school principal. Both parents can attend the meeting, but let the father do the talking. My husband has talked to principals and teachers concerning our children over the years with good results. I have also had the experience of talking with a school principal and not being taken seriously.
5. Go over their heads. Most school administrators want to help a child that is being harassed. However, in some circumstances, you may not get the help you need. If the principal and teachers will not help protect your child, go to the police. Some communities are implementing laws concerning cyber bullying in particular. Even if there are no laws pertaining to bullying, there are other laws that may have been broken such as harassment, assault, and battery. Fortunately, I have never had to go this far with a problem at school, but I know there are other resources available should we ever need them.
6. Report. If there is harassment coming from social networking sites or email, report it. These sites have methods for reporting abuse. Follow their instructions for reporting. Once my daughter’s ex-friend made up a fake networking site using my daughter’s picture and name. The girl put some very ugly comments on the site. We were able to report it to the social networking site and within a few hours the site had been deleted. If you are unable to resolve the issue through their abuse reporting procedures, search the internet and find a telephone number for the site and talk to a representative of the company.
Keep working toward a resolution for your child. If you don’t get satisfaction from one source keep going higher up until you get help.