In this video I chat to Expresso’s Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp on how parents should address bullying.
It is absolutely vital that parents get involved if they know or suspect that their child is being bullied, but how they go about doing so is important: keep in mind that your child is most likely already feeling embarrassed and bulldozing your way into the principals office or attacking the bully or his parents might just serve to embarrass him even more. Also remember that the bully self needs help – some problem is causing him to act in this way.
Try not to react to the situation by being aggressive yourself. Be clear and assertive in your expectations but always remember to treat everyone involved with respect.
Parents can address bullying with the school and with the bully’s parents, but try to approach them as your allies in helping to solve the problem rather than thinking of them as your enemies. Don’t teach your child to hit back – however tempting it may be. I have seen so many times how this approach has the opposite effect: a teacher or other observer might not see your child being bullied and only sees them reacting violently which then lands them in trouble!
Teach your child how to be assertive in his voice and actions and how to effectively ask for help.
If, however the situation does not improve despite your intervention and addressing it with all concerned you might not have a choice but to remove your child from the situation as a last resort.