No one likes to hear their child say they are experiencing social difficulties at school. When the bullying alarm sounds, it is easy to get caught up in the emotion of it all and forget the most important part of getting it resolved; timely recording of detailed information on the chain of events.
Most kids deal with getting picked on from time to time, few have grown up to escape it. However, there is a big difference between the occasional mean-spirited comment and deliberate, systematic oppression of another. Children with extra needs are much more likely to be subjected to bullying. Make no mistake about it, bullying is abuse. It is both physically and/or emotionally scarring. What you might not realize is the effects of bullying leave marks on not just the victim but can have long term emotional effects on the perpetrator as well. Bullies have a greater risk of antisocial behavior as adults.
It is important to note that dealing with bullying situations head-on is the best way to help both the victim and his or her bully. Trying to avoid confrontation at school by not reporting bullying puts more than just your child at risk and has the potential to grow to a situation that becomes well beyond what you and your child are prepared to deal with. Take a bit of advice; let the school know early and often when something like this involves your child. Be they the bully or the bullier, responsible adults need to deal with it before it spirals out of control.
Record Bullying Events And Their Effects As Soon As Possible
The best way to get all the details in order is to get them down in a record. Do it as soon as possible so important information is fresh in the mind of you and your child. You will want to know when the change in behavior between the child and the bully started and how it began. It’s also a great idea to familiarize yourself with your child’s school’s bullying policy. Note any personnel listed as reporting agents and get in touch with them regarding the situation. Next, ask your child detailed questions and record their answers. Some great questions to include are:
- What was going on around you when this started?
- Who else was involved?
- Did you tell an adult?
- What did you do to stick up for yourself?
- Were you or your personal items threatened?
- Are others being bullied by this person too?
Every time you let the school know what happened, record to whom you reported the incident to and what came out of that discussion.
- Did they tell you they would do something?
- Did the plan of action happen?
- Who is that person’s superior?
- Who is the school psychologist?
Take pictures of any physical abuse and/or damaged personal items that your child endured at the hands of a bully. Do not shy away from sharing these photos with your child’s school administrators. It might be tempting to deal with this directly with the bully’s parents. It’s not recommended. Incidents on school grounds need to be dealt with by the school itself. Don’t take matters into your own hands.
Keep Track Of Bullying Information And Whom You Need To Share It With
A journal is one way a parent can record important bullying information. Many also resort to writing and saving emails in a folder so a record of communication is available for later reference. Those are all pretty conventional ways to keep track of information.
Recently, eCare Vault, a secure, cloud-based platform has come on to the educational scene with the promise of solving the education planning conundrum that so many parents of children with extra needs face on daily basis. Whether your child has an IEP or not, eCare Vault is an invaluable resource for recording bullying events, corralling all of the parties involved online, and seamlessly sharing and collaborating on your child’s bullying situation in one place. Moreover, you can invite various team members, like a therapist, to your child’s care team, so that s/he feels adequately supported through this tough and tumultuous time. In effect, eCare Vault is that bridge between education and health, so that your ‘whole’ child is seen and supported.
With eCare Vault, everyone involved has all of the information all of the time. Everyone is able to see the information they need to, assigned by the parent, and collaborate together for a much better outcome than what would take place on the phone, through email and other methods of communication. When accurate information is critical, this solution is your best path to a firm strategy on resolving bullying issues.
Don’t fight off bullies alone. Arm yourself and your child with the right tools and supports to overcome bullying and quell the anxiety so that learning and fun in school can resume.
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