Let me tell you something. Middle school girls are evil. I think a group of middle school girls could dominate the world. They could just go around picking on other countries corrupt their self-esteem and destroy.
“You’re getting a little chubby Hitler. The stache makes you look like a little perv.” There’s a good chance this would have avoided the war.
Whether you saw your child being bullied or they finally told you it can be a very hard experience. You will have a lot of first instincts of protection like, “I’m going to find this kid and give him a good talk.”
Unfortunately, since you are now the adult you have to keep it together and maturely seek help and take action. As a child who was bullied, I feel confident in writing this because I wish these were the things my parents would have rather done.
DONT: Freak Out When You Find Out
Don’t lose your crap when your child tells you or you find out. Don’t start yelling and taking names. This will run your child the other way. They will feel even more scared and find help somewhere or nowhere else.
DO: Stay Calm
Listen to them. Let them tell their side and story. I know it can be destroying when you find out this information. You want to take names and start your hunt but your child is more important than your anger.
DONT: Ask them what they could do differently to not get picked on
This was the most hurtful thing I was asked. My parents became suspicious of me and questioned me every time the issue came up. I did not feel safe and I started keeping the issue to myself.
DO: Show Love
Once you know or they share everything love on them. Hug them. Tell them this is not ok. Let them know you are going to get through this situation together. Make sure they understand they do not deserve what is happening. A young child should not be abused in this way and they definitely should not be thinking they have earned it.
DON’T: Freak out and call parents or question the kid
Did you know parents will defend their kid even if their child is a terror? There may be a time and place to confront and talk with parents but I would not do it right away. Especially with anger. There is a good chance you will be laughed at and told that your kid needs to buck up. Real mean and vicious bullies do their harassing in private and secret ways. There is a good chance the parents don’t even realize their child is being a bully.
DO: Calm down
Tell your child that you need to think about what is going on and make a plan. Talk with your spouse or on your own and make a plan. You are going to need time to think and stay calm and get your brain straight. Each situation is different and requires a different plan. Sometimes the bullying has only just started and others its been going on in secret for years. Go back and talk with your child. Ask them what they want and what they think needs to happen.
DON’T: Question your child
Don’t ask and bother your child every day when they come home how the day went. This will also push them away.
DO: Be ready for when they come to you
Once you have a plan in place and decide what to do wait for your child to talk with you. When they do come and talk with you MAKE TIME. Give them your full attention and be ready to care and love them. Be ready to talk through the situation without interruption. If your kid does not want to talk don’t freak and keep pushing. Tell them that is ok and you will be there and ready for them when they want to talk.
DON’T: Gossip with other parents
If you start telling people your child is being picked on and by whom you will cause a war. I had parents that genuinely hated me. I had parents come up to me privately and chew me out. I had parents tell me I was ruining their child’s life and to shut my mouth. I did not even tell people but my parents did and it spread.
DO: Talk with parents who have older children
Without giving names, talk with other parents who have been through it. Find out what they did that worked or didn’t. Its good advice to find advice from people who have already been through it.
DON’T: Assume there are bullies at every school
Ok, yes there are but don’t assume that maybe a different school or group of people wouldn’t change the situation. When I asked to move schools I was told “well bullies are everywhere”. It made me feel like no matter where I went I was a freak and would get picked on.
DO: Think through different options
If the bullying is bad enough and does not stop even after a plan (like talking with the principal, getting advice, or if you decide to talk with parents) then maybe its time to think bigger.
Have you dealt with bullying in your life? What help solve your problem?