Bullying is different from normal teasing and/or disagreement between children, authors of the US-based legal advice blog, HoganInjury, point out. Many parents today are busy transporting children between their various activities, but few have the time to monitor signs of aggressive or victimhood tendencies. Not all children are vocal about what happens to them at school. Hesitation to go to school can be a strong indicator that your child is being bullied. Increased anxiety, crying, and nightmares, or decreased appetite can be indicators as well.
According to the American Psychological Association, bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort. Bullying can take the form of physical contact, words or more subtle actions. The bullied individual typically has trouble defending him or herself.
If you discover that your child is being bullied, take time to talk to them to let them know that you care. Try to tell your child that it’s best not to fight back, instead teach them techniques on how to ignore bullies or figure out assertive ways to cope with bullying. Help your child identify allies: peers and adults who can help them. Take note of all the scenarios where your child is being bullied.
The next step is to talk to the school where the bullying is taking place. Talk to your child’s teacher about the situation and ask for their help in stopping the bullying. Avoid sounding aggressive, as your child’s teacher may not be aware of the situation. Give your child’s teacher the details of the bullying and ask him to intervene whenever the situation arises. You can also talk to your child’s school friends and help build a safe environment around your child.
If the bullying continues even after you’ve talked to your child’s teacher, the next step is to talk to the school headmaster to address the issue. If your school has an anti-bullying policy, review it and tell the headmaster about the circumstances. If your child is still being bullied, take the next step and write a letter to higher authorities – keep the letters as you may be able to use them if the bullying still doesn’t stop and the school has done nothing to stop it.
If after going through all these steps and the bullying still has not stopped, that is the time to call an attorney. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be filing a lawsuit against the school or the bully; instead, a lawyer may be able to assess the strength of your legal claim and help you look for other options to pursue. Your child should never be alone in this.
Published in cooperation with Hogan Injury.