A Parent’s Guide to Role-Playing Bullying Reports

Bullying is serious. Make sure your child knows that it is important to practice reporting the way he or she would do it in real life. When you and your child practice giving and receiving reports, you’ll have the skills and confidence to handle bullying if it really happens. When your child reports bullying, it is most important to really listen and ensure your child’s safety. The following are steps you can take when your child comes to you about a bullying situation.

1. Listen.

Stop what you’re doing and focus your attention on your child. Your child needs to know that you care about what he or she is saying.

Practice: Set aside all possible distractions and look at your child as he or she is speaking.

Child: I need to tell you something important.

Adult: What is it? I’m listening.

2. Affirm.

Reporting bullying can be difficult. Affirming your child’s feelings immediately lets him or her know that he or she is doing the right thing, and that you will support him or her.

Practice: Make sure your child faces you, stands up straight, and uses a strong, respectful voice.

Child: I need to report bullying. These two older kids won’t leave me alone.

Adult: I’m sure that’s been difficult for you!

3. Ask more questions.

You want to get more information about what’s been happening by asking questions.

Practice:

Adult: Do you know who these kids are?

Child: Yes, they ride my bus.

Adult: When does this happen, and what do they do?

Child: They’ve bugged me almost every day since school started. When we get off the bus at school, they push me and grab my backpack and throw it. Then they laugh and laugh and call me mean names.

4. Tell your child what will happen next.

Make sure you and your child have a clear, mutual understanding of what will be done to help stop the bullying.

Practice:

Adult: So this has been happening for a while. I’m so glad you told me. No one deserves to be bullied. I’ll call your principal and tell her what you’ve told me, and set up a time for you to talk to her about it tomorrow. She needs to know what’s going on.

Child: I’m nervous.

Adult: It will be okay. The principal cares about all her students. She wants everyone to feel safe at school, including you!

Child: Okay…

5. Assure support.

Make sure your child knows that you will support him or her.

Practice:

Adult: If you still feel nervous tomorrow, I can go with you.

Child: That might help. Phew! I feel better already.


Learn more about social-emotional learning, research on the topic, and how it benefits students in the classroom, at home, and in their daily lives.