When parents or members of the media ask us: "What are the most important steps to take if one finds out their child is being bullied?" It is really simple, but takes some tenacity and determination from a parent to stop their child's torment comprehensively and quickly:
The key steps:
- Get the full story and all of the facts quickly
- Stay as calm as you can, but be assertive
- Document the incidents in writing with dates, participants and descriptions
- Call the principal and teacher team for a meeting quickly
- Bring your documentation and your most respectful, yet determined, self to the meeting
- At the meeting:
- Require the parents of the bully be informed of his/her behavior
- Require the bully and his parents sign a document (see our family contract in our book, "When Your Child Is Being Bullied:Real Solutions" ) that guarantees all bullying, speaking about the bullied child/bullying incidents and malice will cease immediately
- Require that both the bully and the bullied child move on from the incident and agree to be civil to one another moving forward (they don't have to be friends, but must be respectful)
- Never have the bully and the bullied child hash it out in a "peer to peer conflict resolution" meeting - this only re-victimizes the victim and makes the bully angrier
If the above does not work immediately, see our additional recommendations in the book. Frequently the above is enough, but often times it is not and we have many more recommendations that will work well.
In our book, When Your Child Is Being Bullied: Real Solutions (www.solutionsforbullying.com), outlines a full plan (yes, unfortunately you will need it - these things tend to be messy and complicated) designed to be customizable to your child's specific needs and their specific challenge.
When Your Child Is Being Bullied: Real Solutions is available on www.amazon.com and www.solutionsforbullying.com