10 Ways You Can Help Stop Bullying – A Guide for Parents & Teachers

March 2 2015

Authors

  • Geo Howard, Operations & IT Manager
    Geo Howard
    Operations & IT Manager
  • William Grace Frost, Strategic Relations Director
    William Grace Frost
    Strategic Relations Director

As bullying, cyberbullying and intolerance affect more and more children, it’s increasingly crucial that adults, both parents and teachers, increase their awareness and understanding of how their children interact with each other, both in person and online. Here are some practical steps you can take to better protect the young people in your care:

Learn about the issue

Media attention on bullying and cyberbullying is increasing rapidly. The more informed and better educated you are, the more effective you can be in impacting the problem. You can find links to articles on bullying prevention on our website or do a Google search of terms like “bullying”, “cyberbullying”, etc.

Learn to recognize the warning signs

If your child begins to exhibit unexplainable behavioral or emotional changes it’s possible that they could be getting bullied, bullying others, or may have seen bullying taking place. These signs could, of course, be the signs of other issues, but it’s certainly a good time to talk to your child, and responding earlier than later, could save your child and others a lot of unnecessary pain. Signs like becoming sullen, withdrawn or acting out with anger or insolence, a drop in grades, missing assignment deadlines and a loss of friends are among typical warning signs. If you’re fearful that your child may be in danger contact the authorities immediately.

Walk the talk

Children take many of their social cues from adults, parents/caregivers and their peers. By modeling empathy, tolerance and respect in your actions and communication, you impart these values, and influence the attitudes and behaviors of your children.

Know what your child is doing online

Cyberbullying is the fastest growing type of peer-on-peer mistreatment today. It is important for parents to be able to monitor their children’s use of the internet and social media, both at home and on mobile devices. New platforms arise regularly, so try to stay informed about what sites are popular with your child’s age group. Consider these helpful tips from www.stopbullying.gov :

  • Know the sites your kids visit and their online activities. Ask where they’re going, what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with.
  • Tell your kids that as a responsible parent you may review their online communications if you think there is reason for concern. Installing parental control filtering software or monitoring programs are one option for monitoring your child’s online behavior, but do not rely solely on these tools.
  • Have a sense of what they do online and in texts. Learn about the sites they like. Try out the devices they use.
  • Ask for their passwords, but tell them you’ll only use them in case of emergency.
  • Ask to “friend” or “follow” your kids on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so.
  • Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or cell phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having.

Understand your school’s policies

Rules, procedures and policies regarding bullying vary greatly from district to district. Many states have enacted anti-bullying legislation, but implementation at the school site may not be in full compliance. Speak with school officials and your school board about what policies they have in place and what programs they have implemented to address bullying and cyberbullying. If they seem unsatisfactory or insufficient then you may need to become an advocate for policy changes or for more programs and services that create safer schools.

Identify and build alliances in your community

Local service clubs, PTA’s, local government and businesses can be a source of support and funding for bullying and cyberbullying prevention programs. Working with the various stakeholders in your community is an effective way to build a coalition and create safer school climates.

Advocate for safer schools

Write a letter to the editor of your local paper, attend or join your local PTA or school board, or start a community group dedicated to addressing bullying and cyberbullying at your local schools.

Join an anti-bullying community online

Many online communities share tools, inspiration and the latest news on youth empowerment and the anti-bullying movement. You can join Community Matters on Facebook or follow us on Twitter! Sign up here for our twice-monthly Whole School Climate Update that highlights the latest news and information on school climate improvement.

Attend a school climate & safety workshop

Community Matters offers Staff Development and Parent Workshops that provide educators, parents and guardians with an understanding of what bullying is today, the social, emotional and financial costs to students, families and schools, and communication strategies to effectively support children and teens.

Sponsor Safe School Ambassadors® (SSA) at a school

Many schools have the desire to provide evidence-based school climate improvement programs like Safe School Ambassadors®, but lack the funding to implement them. By sponsoring SSA at your local school or alma mater, you can create positive change by reducing bullying and cyberbullying, creating a climate of safety, inclusiveness and respect. Click here to learn how one passionate man sponsored the SSA program at his alma mater, Bayside High School in New York.

While this is not an exhaustive list, making the effort to engage with young people, stay informed and advocate for better relationships among youth in the ways listed above can make an important difference in the lives of everyone in your community.

For more information, please contact us by email or phone 707-823-6159.



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