Video Blog - Bullying
Nearly 2/3's of students report having been bullied at some point in their school careers.
Seeing your child in distress is heartbreaking, and its particularly complex for children who have autism and other disabilities who may not fully understand how their behavior may be affecting others.
First of all, remember that bullying is not a part of growing up. How do you know if your child is being bullied?
Obviously if your child is becoming more withdrawn or emotional than usual - you'll want to find out what's going on.
Most importantly, be involved in your child's school. Know his or her friends and how your child fits into the social environment.
The most effective way to handle bullying is through effective monitoring and feedback from teachers and caregivers.
These are the people who are responsible for ensuring a safe environment and they are the ones who can intervene when children are not being respectful of one another
If these professionals are not responsive, take it up the line of command. Contact the principal, superintendent, PTA.
If your school is not creating a safe learning environment, it is likely that other parents are experiencing the same frustration. And always keep a record of the instances in which your child has experienced bullying.
Sometimes the emotions get the best of us when it comes to our children, and it is far more effective to present objective data about the problem as well as reasonable solutions.
And talk to your child about ways they can respond to the bullying. Perhaps they are engaging in behaviors that are attracting negative attention and you can work to reduce these.
Perhaps they can develop a "come-back" statement that allows them to save face when others are tormenting them. This should be something that indicates the bully is not getting to him or her without being mean in itself. For example, "why do you care?" or "I have better things to do than listen to this."
There is hope. If your child knows one child or group with whom he fits in, it can make a huge difference. You can also provide a supportive relationship where he or she can turn to express frustrations.
And never stop advocating for your child. Modeling assertive, though not aggressive, behavior will teach your child that neither he nor anyone should be treated with anything but respect.