By THOMAS CORDELL
Special to the Sun-Gazette
In our last article, we discussed the dynamics of bullying and listed various signs and symptoms that we as parents should be looking for in our children.
The article expressed the significance of how detrimental bullying can be to a child of any age.
Each and every day, many students face bullying by other classmates and neighborhood children.
It is our job as parents to identify this unwanted phenomenon and become assertive with our actions.
I would like to discuss the actions that we as parents can take to prevent or stop bullying and some of the resources that we can use.
As parents, we naturally want to seek out those who are bullying our children and make the situation stop.
It may seem like this is the right and most feasible course of action to take, but it may well be the most devastating action to take, in regard to the long-term effects of the affected child.
Parents and-or guardians need to look at the situation as a whole and work at obtaining all of the facts before engaging in a "playground battle" with bullies or their parents.
The direct intervention with those who are performing the bullying may slow or stop their unwanted behavior for a brief time period, or they may actually exacerbate the situation to a worse level.
Parents should provide their child with the coping skills to deal with bullying and maintain an open dialogue with their child.
Coping skills may involve our children finding other peers to sit with at lunch or play with at recess.
It also may involve conditioning our children to practice the art of ignoring the bully(s).
One of the biggest mistakes is when a parent instructs their child to retaliate with verbal or physical force. These forms of defense will only get the bullied child in trouble or make the situation worse.
When we see our child not getting the relief they need from bullying the next step is to contact the school's principal or guidance office. If the child is in the elementary grades, the teacher should be notified as well. Those who are employed by the school district have the responsibility to maintain a safe and stable learning environment for each student. They have policies in place to deal with these types of situations.
Most likely the principal or guidance counselor will request a meeting with the parents to investigate the situation.
Depending on the severity of the bullying, school officials may be forced to move the affected child to another classroom, as well as disciplining those responsible for the bullying.
The key to success in these types of situations is to be very precise when taking action(s) to terminate these unwanted situations.
Stop and think what the very best course of action will be and speak with your child and make them aware of the "game plan."
If the situation still persists, your local police department may have to intervene, especially in cases where it involves teens and there has been physical abuse.
Most schools have an officer assigned specifically to each school to monitor situations such as these.
The bottom line is that every child, - whether in elementary or high school - has, and deserves, the right to an education that is not interrupted with harassment, whether verbal or physical in nature.
Know your school's protocols for assisting in situations such as these.
Lastly, don't be afraid to ask questions and involve your son or daughter in the correction process.
Our next series of articles will examine the delicate balance of academics and athletics. I will offer tips and strategies to help your child be effective in both areas.
Cordell is the owner of Excell Tutoring Services, 346 Broad St., Montoursville.
He may be reached at 506-9998 or firstname.lastname@example.org.