Depending on where you live, school either has already started, or will start very soon. What about the 160,000 children who will stay home from school on any given day because they are afraid of being bullied? How aware are we as parents of what is really going on in our children’s lives? I’ve heard the comments about the “helicopter” style of parenting and wonder if maybe they have the right idea. Perhaps they go too far in being involved in their children’s lives; but we do need to be vigilant about our kids and what they are doing, feeling, and experiencing.

Children who routinely find excuses for going to school are having problems at school. Establish communication with the child to find out if the problem is on the bus, the walk to school, the classroom, lunchroom, or playing field. Deal with the appropriate people in each place, from a bus driver, to a classroom teacher, principal, or coach. Our children have the right to be safe in school every day. They have the right to be free of any kind of harassment, intimidation, teasing, or other behaviors that are identified with bullying.

With 49 states now having legislation directing schools to adopt anti-bullying policies, you have the right to find out what your school’s policies are and how they are implemented. You are your children’s biggest cheerleader and advocate.

At the same time, prepare your children for encounters with others who may not look, think, and act like you do; who may find reasons to pick on them. Role-play some situations with your children so they are more comfortable with responding positively to taunts or teasing. Helping your children learn necessary social skills will give them the confidence to reject bullying; to stand up to a child who bullies, and speak up on behalf of someone else.

Written by Barbara Gilmour.  (C) Cool Kind Kid