Bullying, whether it is verbal, physical or Internet based, (cyber-bullying), can have devastating effects on a child’s self-esteem, and cause depression, anxiety, loneliness, and thoughts of suicide. Therefore, if you know that your child is being bullied, it is imperative to act quickly. Here are some tips on how to respond to the child and deal with the source of the problem:
* Never advise a child to ignore bullying behavior, and never blame the child by suggesting that he or she provoked it.
* Get your child to tell you exactly where it happened, when it happened, and precisely who was involved. Also, determine whether anyone witnessed the incident(s).
* Praise your child for telling you about the bullying, and ensure your child knows that it was not his or her fault. Never suggest that your child handled the situation badly.
* Let your child know that you will have to think about how to handle the situation and you will let him or her know how you will handle it.
* Never encourage a physical reaction.
* Contact your child’s teacher or principal and unemotionally explain the details of the incident(s).
* The school has an obligation to handle the situation effectively, but explain that you want to work with them to stop the bullying. Never contact the parent’s of the bully directly.
* Keep a record of any meetings with the school and if the situation continues, escalate the matter to the school superintendent or the school board.
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