Strategies for parents to address bullying
1. Find out what is going on
- Use listening and encouraging skills to foster an open relationship with your child by asking about their day and other kids at school or in the community.
2. Label bullying behaviours
- Help your child understand the impact of bullying on others and how they can relate positively to others.
- If your child is being bullied, listen to them and problem-solve ways to deal with the child who is bullying.
- Support your child in developing positive friendships and building on their strengths.
- If your child is in the role of bystander, help them realize that their behaviour is part of the problem. Provide information on how to support vulnerable peers.
3. Approach your child’s school
- Inform your child’s teacher or the school’s administration that your child is experiencing bullying. Children who have been the victims of bullying need to feel safe and supported in developing positive relationships with peers.
- Both the Toronto District and Catholic School Boards have anti-bullying policies. Insist that they intervene in order to help your child. School advocacy may be required.
- Suggested school strategies include:
- Raising awareness within the whole school
- Developing classroom rules including not tolerating bullying or implementing a “buddy program” where the school matches older and younger children to check in with each other daily
- Providing a special role for your child (e.g., helping younger children read during recess can be viewed as a positive leadership opportunity)
- Staggering recess for identified bullies and targeted victims
- Teaching educational components related to bullying in class (e.g., role-playing bullying scenarios and different strategies that children can use)
- Closely supervising those children involved in bullying
4. Role-play with your child
- Try different scenarios where your child plays the role of bully, victim and bystander.
Source: information for this blog post was sourced from Stop Now And Plan (SNAP), our award-winning children’s mental health program. For more information, visit stopnowandplan.com.