If your child is being bullied, it is normal for your parenting instincts to go into overdrive. You may want to go and confront the child, or the parent, and make everything right for your child. Unfortunately, that is rarely a good idea. Bullying, while painful, is common. You must learn how to manage your child’s feelings and deal with the bullying productively.
Talk to Your Child
The most important thing you can do is to talk to your child about bullying. Preschoolers may not have the vocabulary necessary to express themselves. It is up to you to ask questions that can help your child better communicate the issue.
By talking about what happened, and how it made him feel, you show him that his feelings are important. It is important to keep your tone sympathetic and calm when addressing these issues. If your child hears tension in your voice, he may clam up. Even though your frustration is not with him, he may feel vulnerable to your feelings.
Communicate Your Feelings
It is not enough to get your child’s version of events. You need to summarize his experience and repeat it back to him. This way he knows that you listened and paid attention. Follow up by asking how the bullying made him feel. Finally, let him know that bullying behavior is never okay, and you are going to work with his teacher to improve the situation.
Let your child feel how he feels about bullying. If it makes him sad, scared, mad or any other emotion, let him express it. Don’t dismiss his feelings by saying things like the bully is scared of him or that the bully acts that way because he is jealous. Let your child feel how he feels, without telling him he is wrong or trying to change his mind.
Share Some Reasons Why Children Bully
While you should not make excuses, explaining some of the reasons why children bully can be helpful. Understanding that bullying behavior has nothing to do with anything your child did can help ease his mind. The bully may have been bullied. They may have things going on in their life that makes them feel helpless. They may believe that they can make themselves feel better by making others feel bad. None of these reasons have anything to do with your child. He is just the unfortunate target of the bully’s action.
Approach the School
Talking to your child’s teacher about bullying can be stressful. You don’t want to make his situation worse. The teacher must know what is going on. Understanding her plan to deal with the bully can give your child a sense of relief.
Make arrangements to talk to the teacher alone. Let her know exactly what your child told you. Remain calm. You are both on the same team. Listen to the teacher’s opinion. Hopefully, she realizes the severity of the issue. If she is dismissive, you need to continue to advocate for your child.
At the end of the meeting, there should be a plan for dealing with the situation. She may make a special effort to supervise during problem periods, rearrange desks, or have a general talk to the entire class about behavior. She should not single your child out in front of others. Make a plan to follow up with your child’s teacher after a week or so.
If the bullying continues, you will need to escalate your complaints. Keep a written record of not only what your child reports happen, but any conversations you have with the teacher. A written note or email to the teacher, and copied to her supervisor, is the next step. Let her know the problem is ongoing. Ask what the plans are to rectify the situation.
Hopefully, bringing the situation to the supervisor’s attention will be enough to settle the issue. If not, you may be forced to look at transferring preschools. Bullying is damaging to your child. Keeping him in a preschool that doesn’t recognize that may not be in his best interests.