- Don’t allow your initial response to control your actions.
- Take action to calm yourself so that you can think rationally.
- Set limits and give clear messages that you love your child but don’t love his or her behaviour – all harassing and bullying must stop.
- Talk about how harassment affects others.
- Impose appropriate, non-violent, logical consequences.
- Let your child know you will work with him or her to help find better ways to solve problems.
Get the full picture
- Help your child explore the reasons for the bullying behaviour and find different ways to interact with others.
- Check with school staff to get as much specific information as possible.
- Help your child identify the circumstances under which he or she becomes aggressive.
- Work to gain an understanding of the skills your child needs to learn to solve problems effectively. It is paramount to affirm and encourage positive behaviours and constructive, problem-solving skills.
- Let your child know the risk for legal consequences for bullying behaviour.
- Make sure you spend time affirming the qualities and behaviours you appreciate in your child.
- Don’t just focus on what isn’t working – also notice and comment on what is working.
Encourage talk about feelings
- Teach your child ways to express feelings that will help build empathy and problem-solving skills.
- Work out different ways to solve problems that do not involve verbal or physical aggression. Practice new responses.
- Discuss ways to handle situations that have been problems in the past. Make a plan.
- Help your child work out a way to make it up to the person he or she has bullied.
- Help your child look at the situation from the other person’s point of view.
- Consider what the person who has been bullied would want to happen.
Cooperate with the school
- Keep in touch with the school staff to find out how your child is doing. Ask for help if you need it.
- Ask the school to share strategies they teach students for self-control and resolving conflict. Practice and reinforce these strategies with your child.
Monitor TV, violent movies, video games
- Media violence has been shown to increase aggression in young people.
- Examine your parenting strategies, especially strategies used to discipline.
- Parenting strategies that are too strict or too lenient have been shown to cause behaviour problems in young people.
- Remember that you are a powerful role model for your child.
Guidelines for logical consequences
A range of logical consequences that could be applied should meet the following criteria.
- Reasonable: the consequences fit the inappropriate behaviour.
- Related: the consequences teach a skill or attitude that will prevent future inappropriate behaviour.
- Respectful: the consequences must respect the dignity of both the child who is bullied and the child who engages in bullying behaviour.
- Responsible: the consequences ensure that the child who engages in bullying behaviour is the one who is held accountable for his or her actions.