The Role of Adults
Adults play a significant role in keeping children safe from bullying.
All adults, whether at home, at school or in the community, have a role to play in bullying prevention and intervention. Adults should refrain from labeling children as “tattletales” and listen when a child reports bullying concerns.26
By being effective and empathetic listeners, adults are positioned to assist children who are impacted by bullying. Parents can increase the likelihood that their child will report bullying experiences by making listening a part of the daily routine. During dinner or another part of the day, initiate regular “talk sessions” and express interest in your child’s day and allow the child to take the lead in talking about what is on his or her mind.
If a child shares a story of bullying, listen patiently and without judgment. Adults should always start a conversation with “I’m sorry this happened and this is not your fault. No one deserves to be mistreated.” Ask questions, help the child brainstorm possible responses and ask the child what help he or she needs.
Sample questions to ask:
- What happened?
- What happened right before this incident?
- Who was there?
- Where did this happen?
- What time of day, during what period at school, before or after practice?
- Was there an adult present?
- Did anyone report this to an adult?
- Is there an adult at school that you would feel comfortable going to?