The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issue the following suggestions to parents on how to deal with bullying issues at school.
If you notice your child is being bullied, it is best to alert school officials to the problems and work with them for solutions. The AAP advices parents to teach their child how to respond to bullies by teaching them to look a bully in the eye, stand tall and stay calm in a difficult situation, and/or walk away without increasing the likelihood of violent actions. Parents are also advised to encourage their child to make friends with other children, and help contribute to their child's social development.
If you notice your child is the bully, the AAP advises parents set firm and consistent limits on the child's aggressive behavior. The organization recommends parents use effective, non-physical discipline, such as loss of privileges, and develop practical solutions with the school principals, teachers, school workers or psychologists and parents of the children your child has bullied.
If your child observes bullying, the AAP and OICA recommend parents encourage their child to join others in telling bullies to stop. Children who include other children in such activities will often reduce the likelihood of bullying.
As adults, we can play a significant part in reducing bullying. Hopefully these tips can help improve the lives of the children close to you.
-Joe Dorman, OICA CEO