in honor of bullying prevention month

In Education, School Psychology on Tuesday, 9 October 2012 at 06:54

Dealing with bullying: What parents and teachers can do to help


When a child reports a problem with teasing or bullying, it can leave both parents and teachers feeling frustrated and helpless. Parents may feel helpless because they are not with their child all day at school and they cannot be there to protect their child. Teachers and other school staff such as school psychologists, teacher aides and special education teachers are in a position to intervene, however, school staff cannot always be there to witness every interaction and instance of bullying. Children with disabilities in particular are more likely to be bullied because they are physically different or because they have learning or behavioral difficulties.

Adams County School District 50 in Westminster, CO, began a district-wide bully prevention program during the 2011-2012 school year which features three steps: Stop, walk and talk. The program, Bully Prevention in Positive Behavior Support, is one anti-bullying program that teaches students how to deal with teasing, bullying and gossip. The program relies partially on bystanders, those students who witness the bullying, to step in and help when appropriate. Students learn to tell the bully to stop (paired with a stop hand signal) as a first defense, and then if the bullying or teasing continues they are taught to walk away calmly and confidently to remove the attention that the bully is seeking. As a last step, the students are taught to talk to an adult to report the problem if the other strategies fail and the bullying continues.

The most effective bully prevention program involves students, teachers, parents and communities. Parents can encourage their child not to take the teasers comments personally. Teasers and bullies are out for power, control and attention. Walking away or ignoring the comments takes away the attention that they are seeking. It is important to note that ignoring is taught only as a first strategy and the student should report the problem to an adult if the bullying continues.

Parents can also talk to their child about being assertive and dealing with peers in a confident manner. Bullies are more likely to pick on students who look intimidated and who seem unable to stand up for themselves. Talk to your child about choosing appropriate friends and encourage them to stay close to friends who treat them with respect. Many instances of bullying can be prevented when the child is surrounded by friends who can stick up for them and tell the bully to stop.

Teachers can increase supervision in areas of the school where bullying incidents are more likely to happen such as hallways, lunchrooms and buses. Reassure students that they can report bullying and that they will remain confidential. Adults should respond immediately to reports of teasing or bullying and should follow up with students to determine whether the bullying has stopped or if it is continuing.
Organizations such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Kidpower have excellent bullying prevention resources and tips for parents and professionals.

Retrieved from: http://www.examiner.com/article/dealing-with-bullying-what-parents-and-teachers-can-do-to-help?cid=db_articles



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