Stopping Bullying Quickly and Comprehensively
Guest Post by Marie Newman
Bullying is a very challenging societal issue for families and is clearly on the rise. In the U.S., 160,000 chiIdren stay home from school each day due to bullying and one in three children report being bullied moderately to severely each year. Worse yet, bullying is the fastest growing reason for suicides between ages 11-16 years old.
It really is hard to describe the level of isolation, despair and frustration bullying brings to a family. My family lived it and I understand. Our school system did not have procedures to address bullying and as a result, we had to develop our own solutions to stop the torment and get beyond it.
After finding solutions that really work, my co-author and I decided we needed to share our research, practical solutions and guidance designed to provide a step-by-step approach to stopping bullying.
Getting Started: Be Your Child’s Most Powerful Advocate…….
Understanding the following will enable parents to be successful:
1. Working collaboratively and respectfully with the school is crucial.
2. Parents need to make it clear that they are dedicated to a finding a solution and truly appreciate the school’s assistance and support for their child.
3. Parents need to help the school understand that as parents of the victim, you are going to be actively involved in the solution, expect all parties to be accountable and that positive results are expected.
4. As upsetting at bullying is, staying calm throughout the process really engenders respect.
Develop A Checklist of Clear Steps
A checklist of activities will assure that all parties involved in the solution to your child’s problem will know what to do and when/how to do it. This keeps everybody accountable.
1. First and foremost, tell the bullied child they did not “invite or deserve” this situation. The bully is acting abnormally, not the victim. Repeat this statement often. Make certain the child feels protected and loved.
2. Ask to see the existing anti-bullying protocols and procedures at school. From there, ask them to execute those procedures fully.
3. If there are not any procedures, ask them to develop a procedure/process for this specific case.
4. Request the following from the administrators:
a. The victimized child should never have to meet with the bully ever. This old-fashioned peer-to-peer discussion only re-victimizes the bullied child and humiliates them again. The bully simply states what the adults want to hear in these sessions and then completely ignores anything that was supposed to be learned. Peer-to-peer resolution is futile.
b. The bullied child should never ever be told to ignore the taunting, name-calling, aggressive exclusion, online bullying, physical bullying or any form of disrespect. Ignoring the bullying tells the bully that it is acceptable to be bullied and the bully will take that as a permission slip to keep bullying. Further, the bystanders will assume it is acceptable to bully that child as well.
c. Make certain there is a key administrator who is the parental liaison and contact throughout the school year.
d. Require that the parents/guardians of the bully are called and fully informed of the incidents as well as the consequences their child will be receiving.
e. Require that the child who was bullying receive a real consequence that helps him understand why bullying is detrimental to both the victim as well as himself.
f. Mandate that the bully and the bully’s parents/guardians commit to completely stopping the torment, gossiping, online/cyber-bullying and all bullying activities. They also must promise to never discuss the victim and/or the incidents ever again.
(Sometimes a written contract can be helpful here, see our book for an example).
g. Further, the bully needs to guarantee he will not recruit others to bully the victim or there will be consequences.
h. Clearly explain the state’s anti-bullying laws and the consequences to the bully.
i. Itemize the escalating consequences for the bully if he chooses to bully again.
j. Make certain all bullies affecting the child are addressed and understand all of the above.
5. If the school claims they can’t help, very politely, calmly and respectfully remind them that you pay taxes or tuition and therefore, they must help.
6. If you meet with resistance at the school level, elevate it to the superintendent and school board by emailing and calling one or all of them.
7. Protecting the victim:
a. The victimized child should have a few “safe people” he can go to during the day when he feels threatened.
b. Be diligent about monitoring all texts, online communications and social media at all times to prevent issues
c. Make certain the teachers and staff are apprised and commit to keeping a watchful eye over the child as well as intervening immediately.
d. Make certain the bullied child has friends or kind children around him when he feels vulnerable (the school can help facilitate this).
8. All of the above should be checked daily and weekly. A quick chat with your child at the end of each day and a brief call to your key school contact will suffice.
9. If all of the above is not working, contact a local member of law enforcement or an attorney to counsel you on options.
10. Finally, make certain the school commits to a mutually agreed-upon timeline for all steps. Make certain the school feels the urgency, but also feels that you are understanding of their schedules. Compromise, but do not give in.
11. Always, make certain your child is receiving professional counseling if they show even the slightest signs of anxiety or depression.
Introducing the first book of its kind in the bullying book category: a “how-to-stop-it- and-get-beyond-it guide” for families who are experiencing the humiliation, isolation and despair brought on by bullying. When Your Child Is Being Bullied: Real Solutions For Families, is a step-by-step guide to stopping the torment and returning life to normal.
Written for parents by parents or other interested parties, When Your Child Is Being Bullied: Real Solutions For Families, uses a blend of relevant stories, lessons learned, research and clearly laid out steps to help parents identify, understand, solve the problem and get families back on track.
Marie Newman: Anti-bullying Family Advocate, Writer, Mother and Business Owner
The Fixer. Those who know her, describe Marie’s problem-solving skills as unparalleled and passionate regardless of the task. Her 24-year professional background includes writer, marketing executive and business consulting company owner.
She has written and co-produced several anti-bullying tools/resources including “Bullies 101”, an educational film concept and support system. Marie has worked with state/regional anti-bullying task forces and speaks on anti-bullying topics in community settings, parental meetings and corporate events.
Jacqui DiMarco: Anti-bullying Family Advocate, Writer, Mother and Business Owner
Grass doesn’t grow under her feet. If there is a problem, she jumps in and gets it solved quickly and efficiently.
Her professional background includes human resources consulting, corporate training and owns her own HR consulting practice.
Jacqui is a member of state, regional and local anti-bullying task forces. She also works one-on-one with parents of children who have been bullied or are bullies as well as elected officials.