Bullying: What Parents and Caregivers Can Do
A presentation about bullying given to Jefferson parents and caregivers by Jefferson Social Worker Heather Golden on January 22, 2016.
- Learn key components and identify common examples of bullying
- Increase awareness of Asset Development (safety related research)
- Discuss how to prevent bullying and what to do if your child is being bullied or bullying others
What kinds of bullying have you seen?
Bullying is defined as:
- Unprovoked actions or threats
- Motivated by an intent to cause fear, distress, or harm
- Repeated and aggressive acts
- Against someone with less power
Conflict and Bullying
- Often happens where everyone can see
- May involve fighting, but usually resolves quickly
- Usually problem is worked out/people are friends again
- Often happens in secrecy or “out of the way” places
- One or more people are targeting one person
- Bullies are not friends with their targets
Categories of bullying behavior may include:
- Inappropriate sexual comments
- Threatening to cause harm
- Taking or breaking someone’s things
- Making mean or rude hand gestures
- Leaving someone out on purpose
- Telling other children not to be friends with someone
- Spreading rumors about someone
- Embarrassing someone in public
What are the warning signs that a child is being bullied?
- Avoiding school
- Cuts, bruises, bumps, scratches, etc.
- Missing belongings or money, damaged possessions, torn or dirty clothing
- Changes in behavior, routines, patterns
- Few, if any, friends or interactions with classmates
What does the research say?
Asset Development: What are assets?
Building blocks of healthy development that help young people grow up to be:
How many assets are there?
- 40 Developmental Assets have been identified and fall into the following 8 categories:
- Boundaries and Expectations
- Constructive Use of Time
- Commitment to Learning
- Positive Values
- Social Competencies
- Positive Identity
What is an example of an asset?
Under the category of Boundaries and Expectations
Asset # 11 is Family boundaries:
- The family has clear rules and consequences and monitors children's activities and whereabouts.
What does Asset Development have to do with Safer Schools and Student Success (how does this relate to bullying)?
- The more assets young people experience, the more they engage in positive behaviors ⇨less likely to bully/better able to deal with bullying
- The fewer assets, the more likely young people are to engage in risk-taking behaviors (alcohol and drug use, antisocial behavior, violence, etc.) ⇨more likely to bully/less able to deal with bullying
Tips for parents and caregivers to prevent bullying
- Check in with your child about what is going on at school (in and outside of class)
- Ask your child (and classroom teacher) about school and classroom rules, procedures, and expectations
- Ask your child about their friends and discuss what it means to be a “good friend”
- Post the “Assets” on your fridge and focus on one each week
- Model respectful behavior towards people who are “different”
- Observe your child interacting with others (classmates, friends, siblings) and praise appropriate behavior
Tips for parents and caregivers if your child is being bullied
- Practice assertiveness skills with your child:
- Don’t react – stay calm
- Rebuff in a firm manner – “I want you to stop now!”
- Stand tall, head held high and walk away
- Do not get physical or bully back
- Use humor
- Use the buddy system
- Tell a trusted adult
- Talk about it
Tips for parents and caregivers if your child has bullying behavior
- Set limits – stop any type of aggressive behavior immediately
- Teach your child three basic rules for expressing anger:
- Do not injure yourself.
- Do not injure others.
- Do not damage property.
- Help your child realize and identify bullying behavior and monitor/reward appropriate behavior
- Reduce or eliminate “playful” teasing
- Help them increase empathy for others
- Help them to use conflict management skills to solve problems (I feel, when you, I need)
- Seek professional help when needed – talk to your health care provider, community mentor, or school staff
Tips for parents and caregivers if your child is a bystander to bullying
- Refuse to be an audience for the bullying incident
- If appropriate and safe, ask the bully to stop
- Be a friend for the target, invite them to play/sit with you
- Support the target- write them a note or tell him/her you don’t agree with the bully
- Tell an adult
Where to get support
Other Important Mental Health Resources:
- SFUSD Safe School Hotline: Improve safety in your school community. This number does NOT replace 911 or calls to your school regarding non-safety issues. All callers will remain anonymous unless you choose to give us your information. The information will be sent back to our school 415-241-2141
- TalkLine: 24 hour support for parents under stress. 415-441-4537
- Bully Phone App from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration: Know Bullying
- Search Institute: More information on Developmental Assets and other parenting resources
- Participate in a Student Success Team (SST), a collaboration between the student, parent/caregiver, and school staff who address the needs of children with academic, behavioral, or health concerns – call the Principal, School Social Worker or Classroom Teacher.
- Social and Friendship Skills Groups with the Social Worker.
- Second Step social/emotional curriculum in the classroom.