Your child deserves a safe and accepting environment in which he or she can learn. Bullying in any form can transform your child’s school into a place of horror. To make matters worse, schools that often profess to have a strong stance on bullying often fail to take adequate action to protect victims. As a parent, you need to be aware of how you can best help your child.
Is it bullying?
Figuring out whether your child’s changing attitude toward school is because of bullying or something else altogether is not always easy. Although California’s legal definition of bullying makes it clear that physical, verbal or mental acts committed with the intent of causing harm to others, these actions typically take place when you are not with your child. Here are some signs you can look out for, including if your child:
- Has unexplained cuts, bumps or bruises
- Does not have many friends and keeps largely to him or herself
- No longer likes school despite previously enjoying it
- Starts asking to stay home more often
- Acts depressed
What can you do?
One of the most important things you can do for your child is to be a good listener. Build a habit of talking with your child about school each and every day, and truly listening to the answers that he or she gives. When you show your child that you are willing to listen and believe, he or she may be more willing to open up about bullies at school.
Of course listening is not the only thing you should be doing if you suspect bullying. You should also be sure to file a complaint at your child’s school, reach out to the school’s counselor and keep a thorough record of all bullying incidents and contact with the school. Taking these steps are not only important for putting a stop to the bullying, but may also come in helpful should you need to seek legal help if the school does not take action to protect your child. You can learn more about bullying and how it is treated in the state of California by visiting our website.