With the return of school just around the bend, kids have a lot to look forward to. Making new friends, learning new things, and pizza day at the cafeteria are all reasons for your little ones to get excited. But back to school time also means the return of bullying, something many parents have a hard time addressing with their kids.
According to Ross Ellis, founder and CEO of the anti-bullying organization STOMP Out Bullying, parents need to focus on the concept of bullying as an entry point. “Say something like, ‘I’m really hearing a lot of news about people being bullied,’” she says. “Say, ‘If it happens, come to me. I’m here for you, I love you and we will work it out together.”
Ellis also points out the importance of recognizing that your child is being bullied, something that isn’t always easy. She recommends looking for mysterious injuries or the sudden use of excuses to get out of going to school. If your child is indeed being bullied, you need to address it as soon as possible. “Most kids will say to their parents that the problem will get worse by them interfering,” Ellis insists. “The parent should say, ‘What is a way that we can handle this together to make it stop?’ It starts a conversation on how it can be handled.”
And with the emergence of social media, cyberbullying has become an unfortunate reality as well, a fact parents need to be mindful of. If your child is being threatened online, Ellis recommends contacting law enforcement. To avoid that kind of situation altogether, make sure your child understands how to use social media appropriately.
For more advice on how to survive bullying read The Survival Guide to Bullying. and let us know if you have any advice for parents trying to deal with the realities of bullying.