What Can Parents Do About Bullying?
Recognizing the Symptoms of Bullying
Although some people think that bullying is a normal part of growing up, the facts remain that bullying, teasing, and different forms of aggression can indeed harm a child emotionally and physically. But what can— and should— parents do if they suspect thier child is a victim?
While the victim ultimatly has a responsibility to report all forms of bullying — such as cyberbullying and cyberstalking — parents should be on the lookout for behaviors that may indicate problems. Common symptoms of relational aggression include:
· dropping grades
· peer rejection
· social anxiety
· loneliness, depression
· lack of self-worth
· behavior problems
· frequent headaches & stomach aches
Treating and stopping the bullying is important for victim and bully alike. Schaffner (2007) notes, “when young women are treated with disrespect and aggression, they learn to respond with it” (p. 1235). If the cycle is not stopped, the victim can become the bully to someone else.
While the Bully OnLine website suggests, “don’t respond, don’t interact, don’t engage,” with a bully, parents should help their child cope with the bullying process by compiling a “bully journal” or record of all the incidents of bullying. In the journal your child should include information such as the times, places, locations, witnesses, and events that happened (Advisory Centre for Education). Print out copies of the written communication from the Internet or social media sites; printed documentation serves to further prove the circumstances; this serves as a bullying journal, which can be used when contacting the school administration or local authorities, depending upon the severity of the bullying.
Parents don't have to stand by helplessly when their child is bullied. They can recognize the symptoms of relational aggression and ultimately help their child by alerting authorities and getting the bullying to stop.
Video Describing the Parent's Role in Bullying
Books on Relational Aggression
Advisory Centre for Education. (2010). Tackling bullying: a practical guide to parent’s legal rights.
Bully OnLine. “Cyberbullying on the internet”.
Schaffner, L. (2007). Violence against girls provokes girls’ violence: from private injury to public harm. Violence Against Women. 13:1229. doi: 10.1177/1077801207309881
Young, E. L., Nelson, D. A., Hottle, A. B., Warburton, B., & Young, B. K. (2011). Relational aggression among students. Education Digest. 76(7), 24-29. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.