Six Ways Parents and Teachers Can Protect Kids from Bullying
Bullying is a genuine problem that impacts students of all ages in schools, at home, on the playground and on campus—anywhere they go to socialize. Bullying behavior can take the forms of physical, mental and emotional abuse. In the most severe cases, bullying leads to self-harm or suicide for some students who have been targeted for an extended period of time.
As parents and educators, it’s essential to talk to your students about bullying before it occurs, so all of you are prepared if it happens.
Here are six of our best bullying prevention tips for parents and teachers:
1. Start Early With “No Bullying” Rules And Consequences.
Be sure to set rules from an early age about not engaging in bullying behavior such as teasing or name-calling. These rules not only prevent your child from bullying others but also help them identify bullying behavior in others. At an early age, kids should also know that there are laws and policies making bullying illegal.
2. Role-Play Bully Behavior.
It's important to know what bullying looks like so that we won't dismiss it as ordinary behavior. Give clear examples of what bullying looks like. Act out scenes of bullying and ask your student to identify which abusive behaviors and language would be considered bullying. This may sound like an activity for young children only, but it’s also helpful to teens and college-age students who may not recognize they’re being mistreated.
3. Be A Role Model For Anti-Bullying.
Be the model for bullying prevention by not being a bully yourself—don’t tease or name-call; this includes not calling yourself names or exhibiting self-critical behavior. Don’t accept this kind of language or behavior from others around you.
4. Get Involved With Anti-Bullying Authorities And Programs.
Find out what anti-bullying programs are offered at your child’s school, in the community or at your local community mental health center and find ways to make sure those programs are effectively creating positive change among students.
Help bring anti-bullying initiatives to your school by enlisting the principal or vice-principal’s support. Volunteer, get on the PTA board and attend PTA meetings. Meeting other parents and teachers can also help you get a sense of any bullying going on at school.
5. Support Anti-Bullying Programs At School And In Your Community.
All schools should have clear bullying policies posted around the campus and online, including classrooms and the school’s website and social media pages. There should be regular discussions with students that bullying is unacceptable behavior and how to prevent and safely report it.
Students should see clearly in print the consequences of bullying, which may involve suspension or expulsion. However, many programs have recognized that bullies often also need protection; we now know that aggressive and hateful behavior has a root cause that should be examined before imposing an unfair judgment or penalty. School- and community-based therapists can help these students.
6. Provide Support And Safety For Bullied Students.
Teach kids who have been bullied how to reach out and get support from friends, teachers and administrators at school—and let them know they will be supported!
As parents, guardians and educators, we’re responsible for ensuring that the students in our lives don't become victims of bullying in any form. And if they do, we should knowhow to get them the support they need to overcome the emotional scars it can leave behind.
If your student or your family needs help with preventing or recovering from bullying, our therapists can help.
Should you have a mental health emergency, please call 911, go to your nearest emergency room, or call1-866-837-7521 to be connected to our mobile crisis team 24 hours a day.