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5 Ways to Address Bullying

October 15, 2014

By Sunny Chico

5 Ways to Address Bullying | A teen son sits glumly while his parents argue, modeling negative behavior.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and while I’m saddened that this issue even exists, I’m glad that we have the month to focus on preventing this terrible behavior that affects our children so deeply.

As parents, one of the first ways to address this problem is to think about what values we model at home. We must demonstrate how to communicate respectfully, whether it’s with our children, our partners, or with our own family and friends. We must also remember that the behaviors we allow in the home are behaviors that our children will practice out in the world. While this awareness can help us guide and shape our children in a way that can prevent bullying later in life, we can’t always prevent it at first. All we can do is deal with it as best as we know how.

If you ever learn that your child is bullying or being bullied:

  1. Talk to your child. Try to understand the situation.
  2. Seek assistance from the teacher. Find out what the teacher has observed and what he or she recommends.
  3. Review the school bullying policy. Many schools are legally obligated to follow their stated bullying policy exactly as written.
  4. Work with the school to make an action plan. Determine what steps will be taken, what the ideal outcomes are, and when to assess progress.
  5. Sometimes, it may be best to call the other child’s parents and say, “I need your help.” You should make this discussion as positive as possible, and not angry or negative. Let them know what is happening. Tell them, “My son told me about this today, and I was wondering if I could seek your help with it.” 

We all want the best for our children and want to protect them from any pain or heartbreak, but so often the best protection—and prevention—is to be a positive role model for them.

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