Dr. Aileen Abesamis is a pediatrician at Signature Healthcare’s Children and Youth Clinic in Brockton. She is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and completed her residency at the University of South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital. Here she offers advice to parents who suspect that their children are being bullied.
When your child is bullied, as a parent you may feel helpless or unsure how to address the situation. It is our responsibility as parents to protect our children, but it’s difficult when they are at school and we are not around or we don’t know the proper advice. The information in this post is meant to help guide parents when they think their child might be bullied at school.
- Talk and listen to your child everyday – Specifically, talk about bullying directly. Talking to them everyday reassures they can ask you for help if they have a problem.
- Be a role model – Show your children that speaking to anyone in a mean way is indirectly saying bullying is right.
- Recognize signs of bullying:
- Difficulty falling asleep, nightmares
- Refusal to go to school
- Injuries, for example bruises
- Damaged/missing personal belongings like clothing, bags, and books
- Frequent headaches and stomachaches
- Crying or always being sad
4. Set technology limits:
- Set up a common computer placed in a public space at home
- Know and learn the websites your children usually visit
- Get their passwords but use only in case of emergency
- Establish rules about cell phone use
5. Encourage friendships – Strong bonds of friendships protect them from bullying.
6. Practice scenarios – Practice how to respond when confronted; for example, ignoring a bully’s demand, email, or text. Help your child act with self-confidence. Practice walking upright, looking people in the eye, and speaking clearly.
For parents who would like additional resources, I’ve included some links with great information and further reading contained in them. Remember, it is important to have an open dialogue with your child, as this can help you best address any issues as they arise.