The Get Rid of a Bully Check List
Once upon a time in the 80's a girl's arm was broken at school. She had been tripped daily for weeks by a group of bullies; they took it a step too far one day, and as she fell forward, there was a loud snapping sound and the bone broke.
The principal knew she was being bullied. The girl begged the school not to make the call to the parents of the other girls. The principal was a wise man and didn't listen. He made the call.
Those parents got a call you never want to get. They were informed, "Your child broke a girls arm at school, she has been bullying."
Now a mother myself I imagine the mother sitting there in shock, ashamed, disappointed and hurt thinking.
"I had raised you to never hurt someone else, how could this happen?"
There was a punishment, discussion, tears, an apology and after all of this control, control that it would not happen again.
Let's take a step back and look at this scenario. Without that phone call, the parents would have lived in complete innocence, assuming their child was the angel they raised it to be. The call is hard to make but essential.
Here are a few pointers in dealing with informing a parent that their child is bullying:
- Get the school involved. If it happens at school, they should be bold enough to make the call for you, and it is their job.
What to do if the school refuses:
- Ask the school why they are refusing and listen to their response.
- Get your facts straight, calm down, sleep over it and get as much information as you can.
- Engage other parents. See if other children are being bullied or have witnessed it.
- If you find an ally or a friend that is willing, have them drop the bomb for you. It is much easier to have a third party say over a coffee, "Hey ...., I've been hearing rumors that your child is bullying ..... Do you know about this?" That little nudge should send any parent into research mode, and discussion mode. The bully will be aware he is being watched and will hopefully step back.
- Rally friends of your child to help; online and in class. Talk to the parents of your child's friends.
- Don't cry wolf. Try to teach your kid to deal with one-off bad behavior and save that call for the real bullies.
- If all else fails and you are sure you aren't wrong, make the call! Make sure you are calm and open-minded. Approach the parent in a, "How can we solve the problem our kids are having?" kind of way.
I've always like the saying "It takes a village to raise a child." To stop bullying, it indeed does; you need kids, parents, teachers, and administrators to all take a stand.
Just a side note, those girls never bullied again! I know, I had the broken arm. They graduated with me. That was the last time I was bullied. It stopped and they were even friendly towards me over the years that followed. One call from a brave principal did the trick.
–Allison Ochs, Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife