Introduction: Bullies are counting on the fact that you either won’t be believed or that you won’t have the courage to report that you are a victim of bullying. Telling an adult who you trust helps you to NOT become a continued target for a potential bully.
If you or a loved one is being bullied, report this to a trusted adult. Contrary to what some people might think, telling a teacher, guidance counselor, parent, or principal that you are being bullied would not be categorized as tattling or snitching. Tattling and snitching can be defined as an activity that people do to purposely get others in trouble. Obviously, the goal of a victim of bullying or a witness of bullying is more about getting the bullying to stop than it is about getting revenge. Instead, by telling a trusted adult, you are engaging in an activity described as responsible reporting. There is nothing wrong in telling an adult you trust about something that you are not able to deal with on your own.
There is a compelling 30-second animated video on YouTube about a shrinking bully by George Hedges. (A link to this video is included in the Resource section below.) The author ends the video with this great quote: “Don’t keep quiet about bullying. Your silence is their strength.”
If the adult you tell is not able to get the bullying to stop, tell another adult
You might recall the story of Little Y who was punched in the stomach almost on a daily basis when she was in the second and third grade. She did tell a teacher. The bully claimed his innocence. The teacher did not know who to believe; therefore, the bullying continued. Sometimes you do tell an adult, yet the bullying is not stopped. So what Little Y should have done was to find a different adult to tell.
If you tell one adult and you don’t see the results you seek, find a different, more powerful adult. Little Y could have told her parents. She could have visited with the school guidance counselor. She could have told the principal. Back in the 1960s, when this incident took place, there were no school security officers. If your school has a security officer, tell him or her.
How can a teacher stop the bullying if she or he doesn’t know it is taking place?
No one should have to be subjected to being bullied. How can an adult help you if he or she is not even aware that the bullying is taking place?
Unfortunately, bullying often takes place when the teacher’s back is turned or in such a way that the teacher is not able to see or hear. It is more a lucky coincidence when teachers do manage to witness the bullying-type activities. In that case, the teacher can take action to help both students make changes: the victim to no longer be victimized and the bully to receive consequences for bullying. But students should be aware that teachers often do not witness the bullying. So how can the teachers put a stop to the bullying if they don’t even know it is taking place?
Tell your child to report all incidences of bullying, whether it happens personally or to one of his or her friends. This is responsible reporting – not tattling or snitching.
What can a parent do if his or her child is being bullied?
What if your child has told a teacher about the bullying, and it still has not stopped? If the teacher does not help, it is your job as the parent to meet with the principal or the school board. You also can talk to the parents of the kids doing the bullying.
Additionally, you, as the parent, could start a parent support group. You could meet with the PTA to ask them to take action. You could get your school to bring in Conflict Resolution Specialists who have anti-bullying programs available. Get help for your child in some non-violent manner. Do not ignore the bullying or rely on the fact that the bullying will stop on its own. Action does need to take place.
Create a paper trail
Attorney, Jim Higgins, suggests that it is important to create a paper trail of each encounter you or a loved one has with a bully. He states, “Document everything that happens. Write copious notes about every aspect of the bullying. If there are bruises or injuries, take pictures. Use a notebook to write down any doctor visits, calls to the school, visits to the school, letters sent, and also all responses that you receive.”
Jim Higgins also suggests the following actions when serious bullying takes place:
1. Make a personal visit to the teacher and / or principal.
2. “Follow-up with certified letters or emails to the principal of the school, school board members, and the superintendent.”
3. “Include the full names of the bullies, what the bully or bullies did, and the date the incident occurred.”
4. “Request a response and a plan of action.”
5. “With any serious bullying, you should call the police immediately.”
Do this within the first twenty-four hours while all the details are still fresh on your mind.
Bullycide is far too common and needs to be stopped
There have been far too many children who committed suicide due to being bullied as they felt helpless to stop the bullies, and they felt terrified to go to school. It’s not necessarily that these children wanted to die. It was more a factor that they didn’t want to have to continue living in the way they felt forced to live. Bullying is a sad and tragic factor in the lives of many children.
Many children have real or manufactured illnesses to avoid facing school bullies
Less severe, but still tragic, is that many children get sick due to the stress they are undergoing. Some children fake being sick just so they do not have to face the bullies at school. So then the negativity is compounded as they will get behind in their studies. Plus, many of them probably can’t concentrate on their studies in the first place due to being bullied.
Does your child’s school have policies in place about bullying?
Find out if your child’s school has policies about dealing with bullies. If they do, see what you can do as a parent volunteer. If they don’t, discuss with them measures you all can take to implement a bully-free program at your child’s school.
Teach your child that it is okay to tell if he or she is bullied
Make certain your child knows that it is okay to tell an adult they trust about being bullied. Also, work with them on the many tips suggested in these articles so that they are no longer an easy target for bullies. Just like the old saying that “it takes a whole village to raise a child,” it takes the children, the parents, the family members, the teachers, the guidance counselors, the administrators, the PTA, and community civic clubs and other fund-raising organizations to work together to promote a school atmosphere where bullying is not tolerated, supported, or allowed to continue.
If you are a student being bullied, tell someone. If you are a parent of a child being bullied, inform all significant school officials and work with them to promote positive change at your child’s school. Please share in the comment section below if you have found a helpful proactive step for putting a stop to bullying that other parents might find helpful.
Together, we must all work together to do what we can to raise awareness about bullying, to help the victim of the bullying, and to alert the bully that his or her acts of bullying are no longer going to be tolerated.
A fun activity for parent and child
Have fun singing these two songs about bullies. Learn the songs and sing them together. Practice the skills indicated in the songs to make your child much more bully-proof. Here’s the links:
1. Video – My Bully Buster Song on Yahoo Voices
2. Another Bully Buster Song on YouTube
Now that your child knows that informing an adult about being bullied can help him or her achieve a happier life now and in the long run, it may feel like a worthier activity to practice and perfect.
About the author:
Debbie Dunn is a Conflict Resolution Specialist. She taught conflict resolution techniques to over 500 middle school students a year for five years. These tips worked well for her past students. They can also work well for you and your child.
To view some of the curriculum I created for my class called 3 C’s: Conflict Resolution, Character Education, Communication Skills during the five years I served as a Conflict Resolution specialist at an East Tennessee Middle School, please visit 3 C’s help you be bully free
School Assaults by Jim Higgins
YouTube Videos about informing an adult you are being bullied:
1. Bullying video by George Hedges (Shrinking Bully)
2. “Mom, Dad I’m Scared” Bullying Commercial
3. I’m Being bullied (Commercial)
To read entire article series about coping with bullies, click on the following links:
Tip #1 of 12 – Use Good Posture To Avoid Being A Target For Bullies
Using good posture is not just good for your health, it also helps you NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #2 of 12 – Use Good Eye Contact To Avoid Being A Target For Bullies
There are multiple benefits to making good eye-contact with others. It demonstrates active listening. It allows you to make personal connections with others one-on-one or when giving a speech. It also helps you NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #3 of 12 – Smile And Laugh To Avoid Being A Target For Bullies
Smiling at others and displaying a good sense of humor is not just a sign of being a friendly person, it also has two other benefits: it is good for your mental health and it also helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #4 of 12 – Practice Deep Breathing To Avoid Being A Target For Bullies
Remembering to take deep, calming breaths is not only good for your health, it also helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #5 of 12 – Save Your Tears For A Safe Place To Avoid Being A Target For Bullies
Crying and venting sometimes feel necessary in order to release negative feelings; however, it is important that your child not allow a bully to witness those tears. Finding a private place to cry helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #6 of 12 – Spend Time With Friends To Avoid Being A Target For Bullies
Having friends feels good as it gives you allies and a support system. Being a good friend enriches your life even more. Having friends and being a good friend also helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #7 of 12 – Practice Your Talents And Skills To Avoid Being A Target For Bullies
Practicing your talents and skills are not only an important way to enrich your life, it also helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #8 of 12 – Tell An Adult You’re Being Bullied To Avoid Being A Continual Target For Bullies
Bullies are counting on the fact that you either won’t be believed or that you won’t have the courage to report that you are a victim of bullying. Telling an adult who you trust helps you to NOT become a continued target for a potential bully.
Tip #9 of 12 – Practice Good Hygiene To Avoid Being A Target For Bullies
Using good hygiene is not just important for general good health and well-being, it also helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #10 of 12 – Practice Your Social Skills To Avoid Being A Target For Bullies
Learning good social skills is not just vital to having healthy interactions with people all through your life, it also helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.
Tip #11 of 12 – Divide And Conquer Is Best Method For Dealing With Bullies And That Mob Mentality
Divide and conquer by interacting with bullies one-on-one at a calm moment. As a group, that mob mentality takes over and they become overly aggressive. Making connections with each one individually helps you NOT become a target for a gang of bullies.
Tip #12 of 12 – Self-Mentor Rather Than Getting Revenge Is The Best Way To Deal With Bullies
Bullying usually perpetuates a chain of pain of bullying back or bullying others. Instead of getting revenge, self-mentor. Find ways and activities to make yourself feel better as this too helps you to NOT become a target for a potential bully.