How Adults Can Help
Helping Victims

Bullying: How can teachers, parents and other adults help?

Victims of bullying usually feel rejected, sad, angry, helpess and afraid. The truth is that nobody has the right to bully and nobody needs to go through all the pain associated with bullying.

 

Do you know why many young people do not tell anyone when they are bullied?

 

Reasons:

  • They are ashamed of being bullied
  • They are afraid of retaliation if they tell someone
  • They do not think that anyone can help them.
  • They feel helpless

 

Warning signs that would help identify a young person who is being bullied.
The child/young person:

  • Shows a sudden lack of interest in school or refusal to go to school
  • Takes an unusual route to school
  • Suffers a drop in grades
  • Withdraw from family and school activities, wanting to be left alone
  • Is hungry after school, saying he lost his lunch money or wasn’t hungry at school
  • Is taking parents’ money and making lame excuses for where it went
  • Is sad, sullen, angry, or scared after receiving a phone call or an e-mail
  • Does something out of the norm
  • Use demeaning language when talking about peers
  • Stops talking about peers and everyday activities
  • Has stained, torn, or missing clothings
  • Has physical injuries not consistent with explanations
  • Has stomachaches, headaches, panic attacks
  • Is unable to sleep, sleeps too much, feels exhausted

 

 

 

For-parents-button
 

For Parents

If you are a parent

  • Ensure that you make yourself available for your child to share their experiences and feelings. Do that by reminding your child regularly that you love and care for them and that you will support them through issues that they may face.
  • You can start by saying “Tell me about it” and listen attentively. This helps you to know what is happening and gives your child a channel to release his or her emotions first. After your child shared his own hurt and pain, you can find out about the facts of the bullying incident.

     

    Questions to ask are:

    – When and where did the bullying happen?
    – Who was involved?
    – How often does it happen?
    – When did it start?
    – Were there any witnesses?

     

    • Praise your child for being brave enough to talk about the bullying incident and reassure your child that it is not his or her fault.
    • Do not minimize, rationalize, or explain away the bully’s behaviour. If you do, you are inadvertently telling your child that she or he really is in this all alone.
    • Do not encourage your child to fight back.
    • Encourage him or her to be assertive instead of being aggressive. Kids who respond assertively to the bully are more likely to successfully counteract the bullying than victims who try to fight back.
    • Unless in serious physical danger, do not rush in to solve the problem for your child. In doing that, it will only convey to the child that she or he is really helpless, and to the bully that the child is really vulnerable.
    • Help your child to help himself or herself
    • Encourage your child to be assertive and to steer clear of dangerous situations.
    • Teach your child to speak up for himself or herself. You can practice this with your child at home through role play or using hypothetical situations.
    • Help your child explore options, analyse choices and eliminate those that will make the situation worse.
    • DO NOT confront the bully or the bully’s parents alone. They may become defensive and uncooperative, and may push the blame to the target.
    • Report the bullying to school personnel (Principal, Teacher or School Counsellor). The school needs to know about the bullying incident – the date, time, place, children involved, and specifics of the incidents and the impact on the child.
    • Work with the school immediately to make sure your child is safe. Effective consequences are applied towards the bully and that monitoring at school is adequate.
    • If the bullying happens to and fro school, arrange for your child to get to school with older and supportive children till further interventions can take place.
    • Encourage your child to make new friends
    • Encourage your child to explore and develop his or her own potential. Bullying affects a child’s self-esteem and one way to change that is to focus on his or her potential (academic/ artistic/ athletic).
    • Instill confidence in your child. Establish good social skills in your child by being a good role model. Correct or adjust your child’s social behaviour.
    • Through role play or using hypothetical situations to help your child explore options, analyse choices and eliminate those that would make things worse.
    • Encourage the victim to get help from the school counsellor if necessary. Provide support by accompanying the child to see the school counsellor.

     

    Note for Parents:

    Isolation, rejection, ostracizing or shunning can be much more difficult to deal with than physical or verbal bullying. At the time of your child’s painful exclusion, any suggestion it make new friends may not register. However, do patiently encourage your child to discover that there are other people who are trustworthy, with the capacity for being true and loyal friends.

     

 

 

 
For-teachers-button
 

For Teachers

If you are a teacher

    • Ensure that you make yourself available for your students to share their experiences or feelings. Remind your students regularly that bullying is an unacceptable behaviour and encourage them to talk to you about it.
    • You can start by saying “Tell me about it” and listen attentively. This helps you to know what is happening and gives your child a channel to release his or her emotions first. After your child shared his or her own hurt and pain, you can find out about the facts of the bullying incident.

       

       

      Questions to ask are:

      – When and where did the bullying happen?
      – Who was involved?
      – How often does it happen?
      – When did it start?
      – Were there any witnesses?
      – Take every report seriously

 

  • Do not minimize, rationlise, or explain away the bully’s behaviour. If you do, you are inadvertently telling your child that he or she is really in this all alone.
  • Praise the child for being brave enough to share his or her bullying incident and reassure the child that it is not his or her fault.
  • Reassure the child’s confidentiality.
  • Supervise the child closely to ensure no retaliation takes place.
  • Monitor the behaviour of the bully and the safety of the victim on a school – wide basis.
  • Make sure to follow up on the report.
  • Investigate the incident reported and take the necessary steps to deal with the bullies.
  • Enlist the help of parents, school staff and even fellow classmates to find out more about the bullying incidents, the people involved and the best way to overcome the issues.
  • Tell the victim not to fight back.
  • Emphasis on assertiveness instead.
  • Encourage the victim to get help from the school counsellor if necessary. Provide support by accompanying the child to see the school counsellor.
  • Follow up with the parents and the school counsellor until the issue is completely resolved.

 

Notes for Teachers:

  • One reason why victims do not report is that they are afraid of retaliation hence it is important for adults to maintain confidentiality of the victims whenever possible.
  • Students do not report bullying because they see it as an unnecessary risk as adults tend to not follow up on their reports.

     

 

 

 
For-counsellors-button
 

For Counsellors

If you are a counsellor

 

Questions to ask are:

– When and where did the bullying happen?
– Who was involved?
– How often does it happen?
– When did it start?
– Were there any witnesses?

 

  • You can start by saying “Tell me about it” and listen attentively. This helps you to know what is happening and gives your child a channel to release his or her emotions first. After your child shared his own hurt and pain, you can find out about the facts of the bullying incident.
  • You can put posters addressing bullying issues. Address the students during assembly talks or classroom activities.
  • Ensure that you make yourself available for your students to share their experiences or feelings. Remind your students regularly that bullying is an unacceptable behaviour and encourage them to talk to you about it.
  • Ensure that you make yourself available for your students to share their experiences or feelings. Remind your students regularly that bullying is an unacceptable behaviour and encourage them to talk to you about it.
  • You can put posters addressing bullying issues. Address the students during assembly talks or classroom activities.
  • You can start by “Tell me about it” and listen attentively. This helps you to know what is happening and gives your child a channel to release his or her emotions first. After your child shared his or her own hurt and pain, you can find out about the facts of the bullying incident.

     

    Questions to ask are:

    – When and where did the bullying happen?
    – Who was involved?
    – How often does it happen?
    – When did it start?
    – Were there any witnesses?
    – Take every report seriously

     

  • Do not minimize, rationlise, or explain away the bully’s behaviour. If you do, you are inadvertently telling your child that s/he really is in this all alone.
  • Praise the child for being brave enough to share his or her bullying incident and reassure the child that it is not his or her fault.
  • Reassure the child’s confidentiality.
  • Work with the teachers to ensure no retaliation takes place. The bully’s behaviour will have to be monitored closely.
  • Reassure the child that you will do your best to ensure his or her safety. Explore limitations by discussing safety measures when the child is outside of school compound.
  • Make sure to follow up on the report.
  • Investigate the incident reported and take the necessary steps to deal with the bullies.
  • Enlist the help of parents, school staff and even fellow classmates to find out more about the bullying incidents, the people involved and the best way to overcome the issues.
  • Tell the victim not to fight back.
  • Emphasis on assertiveness instead.
  • Encourage the victim to help himself or herself.
  • Encourage the victim to speak up for himself or herself. You can practice this through role play or using hypothetical situations.
  • Help the child explore options, analyse choices and eliminate those that would make the situation worse.
  • Treatment plans can include specific instruction in assertiveness skills as well as social skills.
  • Work with teachers and parents to get the child involved in groups and situations where they can make appropriate friends and develop their social skills and confidence such as peer support group and special activity group or club.
  • Parents can also arrange for such activities outside of school to build on their peer support network and interpersonal skills.
  • Follow up in communicating with parents and respective teachers about the situation, until the bullying issue is resolved completely.


Notes for Counsellors:

  • One reason why victims do not report is that they are afraid of retaliation hence it is important for adults to maintain confidentiality of the victims whenever possible.
  • Students do not report bullying because they see it as an unnecessary risk as adults tend to not follow up on their reports.