My child is not being bullied, but one of his friends is by fellow classmates. My son, a fifth-grader, is quite upset about this. What should I do? -- Very Concerned
Answer: Seeing a friend being bullied is definitely difficult, especially when children don't know how to help. Fortunately, parents are in a position to help children learn how to help bullied children.
One of the first things that parents should do is become as knowledgeable as they can about bullying. Besides attending bullying programs at schools, parents can visit www.pacerkidsagainstbullying.org (elementary school) and www.pacerteensagainstbullying.org (middle school), as well as www.stopbullying.gov to learn more about preventing and responding to bullying.
Once parents understand exactly what is involved in bullying, they can give children the tools to help them respond appropriately when friends are being bullied. Stopbullying.gov gives these five helpful steps:
1. Don't give bullying an audience. When someone is being bullied, children should not laugh or support the bully.
2. Set a good example. Children should participate in anti-bullying activities.
3. Help the child being bullied get away if it will not put oneself in danger.
4. Tell a trusted adult (teachers and parents) about bullying incidents that are taking place.
5. Be a friend to the child being bullied. Having friends makes the bullied child feel better. And having friends around him or her will discourage bullying.
Finally, when parents learn about bullying, as you will have done, they should carefully gather the facts, find out how to report bullying to the school and then report it. ** *