Last week was fire prevention week, but I bet not many savvy moms knew about that. So I don’t mind telling you about it now—even though it’s over. The fact is that fire safety in the home is relevant any week. I also think it’s a great time of year to take stock on all systems in your home and be sure you are well prepared for the winter months ahead.
Here’s an article on establishing an escape plan and some reminders we received last week from Home Depot on making sure your house is safe are definitely worth noting.
“My child is being bullied at school. What should I do?”
First of all, know that you’re not alone. Bullying is an all-too-common experience. A lot of parents are dealing with the same frustrating—and painful—experience as you are. Here are some tips on getting through this tough time with your child.
Empathize with your child, but do so from a position of strength. Let him/her know that you understand how awful it feels to be bullied—lower than low. At the same time, let him/her know that you’re not totally freaked out by the situation (something that’s easier said than done if you have a long history of being bullied yourself). Your child needs to feel that you can handle this and that you will be a source of support (as opposed to an emotional marshmallow).
Reassure your child. Let your child know that you take the problem seriously and that s/he has your support. Kids need to know that they no longer have to deal with this problem on their own. Teach your child how to respond to a bully (use humour that doesn’t put down the bully) and how to reduce the odds of being bullied in future (by coming across as a less vulnerable target, because bullies are notorious for picking on kids who come across as physically or emotionally vulnerable).
Arrange to meet with your child’s teacher. The school needs to know what is going on so that school staff can keep their eyes and ears open and be prepared to intervene when they suspect that bullying may be taking place. Your child needs to know where s/he can go and who s/he can talk to if s/he is being bullied physically (pushing, hitting), emotionally (name-calling, spreading of rumors), or socially (by being shunned by the group). You might also want to inquire about the types of anti-bullying programs offered by the school. Kids need to learn how to prevent incidents of bullying (by dealing with the underlying issues that can otherwise result in bullying) and how to defuse bullying situations when they first occur—by refusing to give the bully an audience.
Compare notes with other parents at your child’s school. Find out if any of their kids have had problems with bullying. Talk about ways to work together to deal with bullying at school, on the school bus, and online so that you can curb bullying together.
Find someone you can talk to about how you’re feeling. It’s painful to watch your child being bullied. You need an outlet for your feelings so that you can be strong for your child.
Keep strong and remember, you are not alone.