BOSTON (CBS) – Bullying can have a devastating effect on a child with consequences that last for years. Parents can have a difficult time figuring out a good strategy to help.
More parents are now turning to professionals to get the assistance they need. One mother said she felt her son was targeted by other kids on his very first day of kindergarten.
Doctor Joel Haber wrote “Bullyproof your Child for Life.” He meets with bullied children and their parents to help devise plans for fixing these bad situations.
WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.
Haber said, “Parents call me in desperation because their kid has been bullied. They don’t know what to do and their kid doesn’t want to go back to school.”
The first reaction of many parents is to try and intercede, but Haber said that can sometimes make the situation worse if they don’t take the right action. “Most people feel that rush of adrenaline, that emotion, and they want to take control of this themselves.”
Parents can also be at a disadvantage because so much of today’s bullying takes place with technology, whether it’s texting or mean messages on Facebook.
“My goal is always when parents bring technology into a home is to have them just set up parameters.”
The first rule is to make sure kids understand cell phones and computers are a privilege and will be taken away if they are misused.
Haber also advises parents to Google their kids periodically and friend them on Facebook. This allows for better monitoring of their online communication.
He also says that parents should print and save any evidence of cyber bullying.
Parents also have to stay up to date and make sure they understand the language of the Internet so they don’t miss anything.
Finally, Haber says to resist the urge to teach children how to fight back as a response. “If you hit them, you will get in trouble,” he advised one boy who has been having issues.
School departments in Massachusetts must now have policies in place to deal with instances of bullying.