The school year is right around the corner. For a lot of incoming students, the anticipation of returning to school is overwhelming. Not only are students preparing for new schools, curriculums, and teachers, but also old classmates.
Bullying has plagued many students’ lives from elementary all the way through high school. We all know that kids can be mean, but bullying takes it to another level. Stopbullying.gov defines bullying as an aggressive behavior that includes an imbalance of power and repetition.
Bulling is not something that only occurs once. The consistency separates bullying from someone saying or doing something rude, mean, or aggressive one time. When it comes to bullying, parents do not have to feel powerless in protecting and supporting their children. I suggest taking these five steps to support your children this upcoming school year.
Before we begin it is important for every child to know, despite what others do or say, they are responsible for their own actions. There is a consequence to everything that we do or say. What others do cannot be an excuse for how we behave. You are responsible for your emotions. Now Let us begin.
1) Talk to your child about the upcoming year.
Ask your child about their feelings about starting a new year or grade level. Don’t assume that your child doesn’t like school only because of school work. Inquire about their social experience in school. Ask if there are any classmates they are excited to see or they do not want to see. If there is a suspicion, talk to your child directly about bullying in school. Open the dialogue talking about your experiences in school dealing with peers.
2) Meet personally with school supports early.
Do not wait till there is a problem with your child to introduce yourself to his or her teachers, school counselors, and principals. No only introduce yourself; also assist your child with their introductions. Speak with your school’s principal and school counselors privately about specific concerns concerning bullying. If your school has a School Resource Officer (SRO), meet and speak with them as well. Also reach out to community resources such as church ministers and leadership. Make sure your child has as many potential resources as possible.
3) Develop a plan with your child.
Make sure your child understands who to go to if he or she feels that they are being bullied.
Make sure your child knows their principal, school counselor and SRO. Establish open communication with your child. Monitor social media accounts. Encourage your child to delete negative friends on social media. Make sure your child knows to screen shot any bullying behaviors online.
4) Push after school activities.
Encourage your child to join after school activities. After school activities can promote self-esteem and build healthy connections with peers. If your child does not connect in with a school club or sport, look for after school programs in the city or connect with a church youth program. Make sure your child has a venue to fully express who they are and to feel accepted.
5) Document, Document, Document.
Whenever working with the school system or legal system, make sure you are documenting all conversations and inquiries. A great way to do this is by sending emails and or writing letters.
Speaking directly to your school’s administration is beneficial. Following-up after the conversation is recommended. School administration and counselors speak to a lot of parents and students, especially in the beginning of the year. If you have concerns about bullying at your child’s school send an email to administration and school counselors about your concerns.
Keep all emails and letters for personal records.
If your child is in need of additional support Purposed Life Counseling would to meet and work with your son or daughter.
Ben Roberts LPC-MHSP, NCC; 615-502-4942; firstname.lastname@example.org.