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Parents: Talk to Your Kids about Bullying

With the school year off to a fresh start, take time to talk to your kids about bullying.

You don’t have to have a lot of experience with bullying to know how devastating it can be to children. Just watch the news, Google it, or talk to a child that is being picked on. Your heart immediately goes out to the victim, and you wonder how the situation can be resolved. But the reality is that many instances of bullying go too far, before a parent gets involved.

Even though my boys are young, I think about bullying almost daily. Especially, as I put my oldest son on a school bus and he leaves my protective custody. He’s only in kindergarten, and hasn’t had much experience with being picked on, but we still talk about it quite regularly. I really hope that by instilling a solid conversational relationship now, I can help him deal with peer issues and know he can always talk to me.

It’s very sad, but bullying is a widespread issue in our schools. In my opinion, you’re naive if you don’t recognize this. Regardless what grade your child is in, whether they go to public or private school, city our county schools. No place is free from this terrible harassment.

And regardless of whether the recent was a result of bullying, it has to make parents aware of the peer related issues our children are faced with. It’s important that your children have solid support and know they can come to you to discuss issues before they get out of hand.

Bullying today is an entirely different animal than when we were in school. The teasing and taunting go far beyond wedgies, spitballs or practical jokes. Kids today face cyber bullying, violence, hazing, and unrelenting verbal abuse – and it can start in elementary school. Just the thought of what our children are exposed to makes me shudder. And parents need to take any sign or comment our kids make about being bullied or picking on another child, seriously.

And we need to decide whether to guide our kids to handle the situation on their own, or whether their stress levels necessitate stepping in to resolve the problem.

I know when my son’s welcome packet for school arrived, I was surprised at the form for reporting bullying was included, and hope that I never need to use it. BCPS is trying to curb bullying, harassment and intimidation of their students. And parents should use the appropriate forms to report any and all instances of bullying.

But as much as BCPS tries, they can’t be everywhere, and therefore can’t always protect kids from bullying. It’s our job as parents to know what issues your kids are facing, and take an active role to help give them the resources and support to help them work through difficult issues.

With the school year just under way, now is the perfect time to have a dinner table about whether your child is having social issues with other kids, or even if they notice other kids being picked on. And more importantly talk to your children regularly, so they know you will help them regardless what situation they may find themselves in.

Has your child ever been a victim of bullying? How do you address this sensitive topic with your kids? Tell us in the comments.

PerryHallParent September 13, 2012 at 09:39 AM
As I've mentioned in other articles regarding the recent shooting, my son, who has autism, was bullied in BCPS before. I have an older daughter who was bullied at Perry Hall Senior High as well. Both times I went to the schools, I was met with, "But...we've NEVER seen anything like this at all happening with your child" and "We'll talk to the kids involved to see if we can put an end to it". This brought down horrible revenge and increased bullying for both of my children. My oldest daughter was emotionally scarred for several years over the incidents (including one where she defending herself while being held by one child and hit by another. She kicked to defend herself and was suspended for fighting). Thankfully, I got my son out of the public school system an into a non-public setting for children who need extra help with their disability, something he was NOT getting in BCPS. Schools need to stop brushing it off, going about things the wrong way (telling the kid who is bullying to "knock it off or else!" and find real solutions. The old "someone is going to really get hurt" no longer applies. Kids are getting shot now.
Julianna Smith October 28, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Bullying has always been a tremendous concern for me takes all kinds of forms-sometimes it can be hard to recognize it. That is why we parents are here to safeguard and help our children against bullying by creating an environment that helps your child build friendships towards others. Please fill out your Safety Profile and complete your Safety Network so that we can provide the best service to you. I am a parent and I'm worried and I don't want that any kid will experience this again. As a way of helping everyone especially the parents, who find it quite hard to manage time, I found this great application which featured a safety app which gets me connected to a Safety Network or escalate my call to the nearest 911 when needed, it has other cool features that are helpful for your kids with just a press of a Panic Button. Check it here: http://www.SafeKidZone.com/

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