As a parent, few things will break your heart like seeing your child hurt due to bullying. Besides the fear, low self-esteem, sadness, and loneliness that accompany bullying, your kid may also experience devastating physical symptoms. Worse still, bullying is one of the reasons many children develop suicidal thoughts and kill themselves.
So, it’s understandable if your first instinct is to dash out and confront the bully’s parents. Your innocent kid doesn’t have to suffer just because another parent couldn’t do their job right, yes? But calm down and catch your breath.
Is it proper to involve the other parent? When’s the right time to do so, and how? The answer to these questions will put you on the right track to tackling this situation head-on.
Help! My Child Has Been Bullied
Has your child informed you that someone is bullying them? That’s great, considering that 64% of bullied children don’t report to adults. So, this means they want you to help them deal with the situation and deal with it you must.
But what if your kid is among the 64% who stay silent? How do you know they’re being bullied? You can ensure that your child comes to you when they’re bullied by building trust and communication skills early on. It’s also wise to pay attention to the signs. For example, some aching tummies and unexplained bruises may be tell-tale signs of bullying. Also, ask your kids questions about their social life, who their friends are, people they aren’t getting along with, etc.
Once you’ve established that your child is being bullied, try not to overreact or display anger. Instead, listen to them attentively and reassure them of your support. Let them know that it was never their fault and that bullying isn’t okay.
Build their confidence, and teach them how to react to bullying. For example, you can teach them to stand up for themselves whenever someone tries to bully them. Also, remember to keep communication lines open.
If the bullying continues, escalate it to the school authorities and be sure to follow up on their progress. You’ll also learn more about dealing with bullying from my experience. I’ve documented how I dealt with my son’s bullying in ” Bullying: A Time to Fight Back.”
Should You Involve the Bully’s Parents?
First of all, remember that the first step to dealing with your child’s bullying is helping them to remain an upstander. If they’re successful in this stage, it can give them a confidence boost. The next step is to escalate the matter to the school authorities. Bullying experts recommend that you only speak with the other parent when it’s absolutely necessary — and as a last resort.
Surprised? Don’t be. How would you react if some parent walks up to you to tell you that your precious little angel’s a bully? You’re likely to be defensive, aren’t you? That’s precisely what the other parent’s reaction will probably be like.
Often, reporting to the bully’s parents doesn’t end well. Apart from not believing your story or being defensive, the other parent may overreact. They may try to punish their kid, who will, in turn, take revenge on your child. You wouldn’t want that.
So, when is it a wise idea to contact the other parent? You can report your child’s bullying to the bully’s parents when:
- The bullying happens outside school premises
- The school doesn’t help the situation
- You know the bully’s parents personally
- It makes you feel relief
Before contacting the bully’s parents:
- Prepare for the worst outcomes as they may not respond in a way that you expect
- Reporting to the other parent may not give you or your child the closure you seek
- Understand that they may have different perceptions and values when it comes to child-raising
If you’ve considered those and still feel contacting the other parent is appropriate in the circumstances, go ahead. I’ll show you how to approach them in subsequent paragraphs.
Top 5 Tips For Talking To A Bully’s Parent
“Be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.”~ Anonymous
Here’s how to talk with the other parents.
1. Remain Calm
Often, it’s not what you say, but how you say it that affects the outcome of your conversation. No matter what you do, let time pass and only approach the other parent when you’re completely calm. If you can, write down the points you wish to address in the conversation to avoid missing something.
2. Make It Private
Ask them for a convenient time to speak with them, and be sure to choose a private location. It’s an embarrassing situation for the other parent, and you wouldn’t want to worsen it by being within a third party’s hearing range.
3. Choose Your Words Carefully
Stick only to the facts your kid narrated, and don’t call the other kid a bully. Be polite and speak to them in the same way you’d love to be addressed if roles were reversed.
4. Listen Attentively
Effective communication involves active listening. Allow the other parent to respond and hear what they say.
5. Ask For Their Help
Let them know that you see them as teammates in this situation, and that you’re on the same side.
Example of how to communicate correctly with the other parent:
Here’s how to speak with a bully’s parents:
Parent 1: Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Adams; I’m grateful you’ve agreed to speak with me. I love that your son, Ryan, has been of great help to my kid, Jesse. He’s an intelligent child and has been assisting Jesse with his school work. But do you know of any problem with the boys? I was surprised when Jesse came complaining that Ryan had been punching him in the chest. I feel nervous reporting this, but I’m just concerned about the safety of both our kids. Is there a way we could work together to ensure this doesn’t happen again?
Parent 2: I’m so sorry about the situation with your kid. Ryan lost his pet a few days ago and has been acting up because he hasn’t quite gotten over it. But this doesn’t excuse his behavior. I’ll talk to him to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Thank you for letting us know about this.
Parent 1: Thank you very much for having this conversation with me. I understand this is a difficult conversation for you, and I appreciate your willingness to do right by your child. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
Example of how not to communicate correctly with the other parent:
Here’s how talking with the other parent can go wrong:
Parent 1: Mr. and Mrs. Adams, your child has been bullying my kid, and I want to let you know that I wouldn’t have any of it. Keep your bully in check and warn him never to come close to my son anymore, or there’ll be dire consequences.
Parent 2: Oh, please! You can’t do anything, and maybe you should train your kid to avoid triggering my son next time.
What If The Other Parent Isn’t Helping?
Since you can’t control the other parent’s reaction, your best bet is to continue equipping your child to stand up to their bullies. Teach them coping skills like assertiveness, confidence, walking away, and people skills. Also, help them understand how to cut off from toxic friends at the earliest sign.
Speaking to the other parent about their child’s bullying behavior can be a challenging task. But if it’s the only option to protect your child, by all means, do. The tips in this article will help you approach the other parent correctly.
Do you need more insights into bullying and good parenting? Then head on to “I’m Just Me Blog” for more enlightening articles like this. Also, remember to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and join our Facebook Group!