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Parents of the Bullied Speak Out

Deb Levy
Aug. 17, 2011

Maybe your child is a ringleader. Maybe he's a brute. Either way, you've just found out he's picking on other kids. The good thing is that you're concerned. You haven't shrugged it off as "kids will be kids," and you're taking the news seriously.
But what next? After reading Rosalind Wiseman's tips on handling a bully, you are still needing some parent-to-parent advice, you've come to the right place.
The following quotes are from parents of children who have been bullied. Here's what they think you should do.

* names have been changed to protect identities

  • Don't be dismissive of your child's behavior. Lori* was shocked when the mother of a child who shoved her daughter against a wall acknowledged the incident by saying, "Oh, that's my tough girl."
  • Get the school to handle it. Maria doesn't blame the parents of the bullies. But when the entire 5th grade class ostracized her daughter, she wanted the school to contact the parent of the ringleader. "If it was my child doing this, I'd be horrified and I'd want to know."
  • Assure the other parents you're working on it. Tim has a unique perspective. His kindergarten son has been both the bully and the victim. "I would want the parents of the bully to know, to take accountability and to assure me that they're working on it. But I don't blame the parents for the behavior of their child."
  • Consider other reasons for the bullying. Willa, mother of a 3rd grade boy who had been hit by one child and ostracized by another, has this perspective. "Maybe the bully has impulse control issues. Parents may want to explore whether the child has ADHD or Oppositional Defiance Disorder." Her own son has ADHD and she recognizes that he can exhibit certain behaviors that may annoy others.

>> Read Sheila's Blog Post on Fighting Bullies (Peacefully)

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