Bullying in School: How to deal with it (Part II)

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(WEAU) -- When someone gets bullied at school, does your child know what to do? Should they be bystanders or standup and speak out?

Or maybe it's your own child that's the victim. What can you do to support them?

We spoke to licensed counselor and psychotherapist Jeni Gronemus, MS, LPC with Sacred Heart Behavioral Health. She said there are ways to prepare your child to deal with bullying at school.

"Communicating with your child across the board whether there is bullying present or not. Be aware of what's going on in your child's life. Talk to them about the day, talk to them about who their friends are at school. Do they see bullying? Are they a part of bullying? How do they deal with it? How do they address it?" said Gronemus.

She said parents who are aware of their child's life will have a better chance at helping them through a bullying situation.

Gronemus said to educate yourself as a parent and understand what bullying is while being proactive with your kids early on.

"Working on building their self-confidence and being assertive and being able to play out what they would say and how they would say it.," she said. She suggested role playing what the child would do in a bullying scenario so that if a situation ever happen, they remember how to react.

If your child is a victim of bullying, there are devastating effects. But Gronemus said there are things parents can do to ease the pain and negativity.

She said that parents should keep their own emotions in check when their children confront mom or dad about bullying at school. Don't be angry or emotional. She said to stay calm and handle the situation in a healthy manner.

"Definitely validating them. Letting them know no one deserves to be bullied. No one deserves to be treated the way they're being treated. Let them know you're there for them and that you're going to help them but at the same time empowering them, helping them be a part of the solution. What are we going to do about this? How are we going to address this? Because that is a huge way to empower your child," said Gronemus.

Kids can also be proactive when they see others get bullied or face it themselves. The important thing, she said, is to use words.

"Standing up assertively, saying in a calm and respectful manner, 'I am not okay with you treating me this way. Please stop'. Some of the best antidotes to bullying is being able to fit in with a group of kids, being able to have a friend to go to having self-confidence. Those are the areas a parent can control and help their kid build," said Gronemus.


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