One of the worst things a parent can hear is that their child is causing problems at school. Getting a call from a teacher or administrator saying that your child has been observed bulling other students is sure to bring about a number of different emotions. Immediate denial might be the first emotion, followed by a variety of other feelings. There are a number of things that parents can do to deal with this situation and still support their son or daughter.
· Your reaction to the school’s report that you child is bullying will play a major role in your child’s future behavior. Try not to defend your child or make excuses when the school contacts you with concerns that your child is bullying other students. Defending and making excuses only encourages aggressive behavior in your child. Your child will feel empowered and their negative behavior will continue because they know you will defend them. You are setting your child up for future trouble. Instead, listen with an open mind. If your child has been observed a number of times bullying other students, then it is obviously happening. Accepting that your child is a bully is the first step in changing his behavior.
· Give your child an opportunity to tell his side of the story. Your child will be extremely frustrated if they are not heard. There may be a legitimate reason for their behavior. Although bullying behavior should never be encouraged it is possible that your child was defending himself rather than bullying. However, if your child has been observed by teachers bullying other students a number of times, this is probably not the case.
· Work with the school. Make it clear to the teachers and administrators that you want your child’s behavior to improve and are willing to do anything to make it happen. This will take some time and effort on your part. You may be required to attend weekly or monthly follow-up meetings. You should also be open to suggestions from the school about how you can better monitor your child’s behavior at home. Do not be offended at these suggestions. Remember, everyone is working together to help your child improve.
Working together with the school is a great way to improve your child’s behavior. In addition to implementing your own strategies, the school can offer strategies of their own that may be beneficial. Forming a positive bond with school employees will help your child improve their behavior and have a more successful educational experience.