Bully is such an awful word isn’t if? It even sounds mean. Well, I hope your children never have to deal with a bully or any unnecessary teasing or harmful behavior from another child, but unfortunately it happens. I’m not an expert on bullying, but I had to deal with a situation last year and I thought I’d share how I handled it with you all.
Basically, a girl at Anya’s school wasn’t being very nice to her and some of the other girls. I caught wind of the situation and spoke to her teacher, but when it continued I went to the principal to get the other parent involved and then it got resolved. I can’t begin to tell you how my blood was boiling when I picked up my daughter from school and noticed a bruise on her cheekbone. Mama bear was in full force! I found out that the girl had grabbed Anya’s arm and Anya slipped and hit a table. There was another incident that she kicked Anya while she was walking down the stairs. Now, I don’t condone violence, but I will be honest here and say part of me wanted to tell Anya to whop her. But, I know that is absolutely the wrong thing to do, but again I’m being honest. Anya on the other hand is very sweet and said that she didn’t want to do anything back to her because this girl was younger than her. Good kid, right? So here is what I did to get the bullying to stop:
1. First, talk to your child and find out exactly what is taking place. You may want to ask them a couple times to repeat the story just so you have all the facts. Also, really pay attention to how they act when they come home. I didn’t notice anything different, but when I volunteered at school she was a little clingy and that is when I found out this was happening.
2. Speak to their teacher and present them with the facts. It is just as important to get both sides of the story. Your child’s teacher is with them all day, get her opinion and observations is important to fully piece what’s going on together. In my case her teacher was aware and addressed the issue, but that still wasn’t working.
3. Take it to the principal. Get the principal involved and have the teacher there as well if it doesn’t stop. Be clear on what your expectations are and if needed ask for a meeting with the parents. Make sure the parents are contacted. I found out that they hadn’t been when I thought they were which could’ve put a stop to the situation earlier.
4. Talk to your child on how they should proceed. I told Anya at that point to basically to avoid her until the situation was resolved, not to be afraid of her but to stay clear. I also told her to go directly to the teacher if anything else occurred.
5. Pray about the situation. Anya later told me that she prayed for this particular little girl, which made me really proud of her. We always pray before school and asked for this situation to be resolved.
6. Protect your child. Do whatever it is that needs to be done to protect your child, if that means going higher than the principal do it! Be present and let everyone involved know that you aren’t going to go quietly in the night, this is the time to be bold and that’s okay! Don’t be afraid to make sure the bullying is addressed and it is stopped. It is so important for your children to see that you have their back and when they come to you with this type of problem that you will do whatever you can to protect them. I found it amazing that this girl was doing this to other children and I was the only parent who brought it to the attention of the principal.
In the end, her parents were contacted and made aware of the situation and that it had to stop. The girl wrote Anya a letter and said that she was sorry and she hoped they could be friends and as a peace offering she gave her a flower. Anya forgave her and even ended up standing up for her when someone was being mean to her, which says a lot about her character.
Kids will argue, but there is a fine line between a spat and being bullied. Obviously there are 2 kids in pain, the one bullied and the bully because usually there is something deeper to the acting out. I had told the principal this needed to be resolved not only for my daughter but for this girl because she was isolating herself from the kids and a pattern and a reputation was being formed that would end up hurting her. Our schools have a responsibility to protect our kids. Hold your school accountable.
One last thing, talk to your kids about bullying and how to recognize the signs of bullying. We also want to make sure our kids never become the bullies! So have a talk about behavior that is unacceptable and the consequences. We all have to take a stand against bullying.