Going Back to School: Help for Parents Dealing with School Bullies
Going back to school can bring out many feelings including excitement and anxiety. Our goals as parents is for our children to begin school, venture into middle/high school and then finish strong with success, with minimal stress and problematic issues.
When we think of each first day of school from Kindergarten – High School, it is our hope that our children settle in well, love their teachers, and meet good friends who’ll share their strengths, positive upbringing and moral values. Unfortunately, each day can’t be that easy, but the hope is more days of bliss, than those turned upside-down at the hands of a school bully.
I hate to admit it, but school bullying is still on the rise in our nation’s schools, so-much-so that I feel compelled to ask parents to let me help them get through his awful pandemic. As an advocate against bullying, I’d love to promote agents of change, but this cannot happen until School Boards across our nation ‘get on board’, while systemically adhering to the laws.
Anti-bullying laws must be in place in all schools, and the rules and regulations governing them must remain consistent. Bullying laws only on paper with a purpose to fulfill compliance from the state just isn’t working for our children. Our children need help and this means immediate intervention practices. Although it’s a scary thought in which I must share with parents, they should always remember that in some cases, bullying could lead to Bullycide. Teen pressure is ‘over-the-top’ serious and can make a teen’s life very difficult, and in some cases unbearable, so it’s important for parents to recognize the signs and definition of bullying.
Verbal (name calling, teasing, insulting, or threatening)
Physical (hitting, kicking, scratching, pushing, stealing, hiding/destroying someone else's property)
Social (refusing to talk to or play with someone, purposefully excluding someone)
Cyber (using electronics such as computer to write mean, demeaning messages about someone)
Religious (taunting others to believe their religious practices, or insisting that their peer’s religious practices are all wrong, or ridiculous).
There are signs of bullying that parents can watch for:
Poor eating habits or asking to eat as soon as he/she gets home - bully has taken lunch, or lunch money
Torn clothes or mysterious bruises/scratches
Isolating self from others - appearing lonely
A change in grades - poor grades
A sudden dislike for school
Exhibiting unfounded anxiety
Complaint of sick feelings - stomach aches, headaches
Asking not to go to school
Signs of threats or suicide
If you have reason to believe that your child is being bullied: Stop, Look & Listen NOW
Talk to your child. Ask him/her about their school day. Ask if there is anything that you should know. Whatever you are doing or plan to do, stop! Your child must trust that you will drop whatever you are doing to see him/her through this crisis. Your child needs to know that you are listening to them; you hear their frustration and the pain that they are experiencing. As you question/listen to your child, you will want to repeat what you’ve heard them say to you, thereby acknowledging that you’re really listening. Let your child know that you will be there for them "at all cost."
I’d like to encourage parents to:
Realize that Bullying is serious
Intervene and swiftly
Tell children to always get the attention of school officials
Keep your children safe until help arrives
Encourage school officials to get help for the bully
Know that your children have the right to attend bully-free schools
Focus on your child
Remember, there are effective steps that you can take as your child's anti-bullying advocate, such as;
1) Document verbal and physical attacks
2) Approach school staff armed, ready with suggestions, and as a last resort
3) Contact legal assistance, if needed. Consider the fact that bullying related suicides are real.
STOP whatever you're doing and act quickly on your child's behalf. Our children count on us to help them during crisis. This is not the time to put ANYTHING else before your child. Show your child that they can trust and count on you. You are their voice pieces.
My goal these last few months has been to share the news about my ‘Dear Dr. Cherrye’ blog series where I spend lots of time answering ‘hard’ questions posed by parents that center on bullying and diversity issues. I’d love to answer your questions, too.
In addition, I’ve written a guide for parents and educators alike titled: ‘A Bully Blueprint: Solutions for Kids.’ This guide is yet another resource that will assist with strategies to help parents and educators eradicate bullying behaviors. Parents can find my book on my amazon affiliate link page.
Written by Cherrye S. Vasquez, Ph.D., Author/Writer of Children's Books that Sow Strength, Character & Diversity, DBA. Website: booksthatsow.com