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When and How to Talk to the Parent of a Child Who is Bullying Yours

4/20/2010

There is not a manual for how to handle conflict between your child and another. Although we should not interfere with every argument or minor conflict, there may be times when contacting the other parent is necessary. It's about knowing when and how to approach the other parent. While some may welcome the conversation, some will become angry and/or offended. This is a general guide as to when and how to approach the other parent.

Bullying is a big problem, not only at school but at the community park. Anti-bullying laws may be in schools to help protect your child but outside of school, going to the parent is a must. Bullying is one of the things that can not and should not be tolerated by any means. If your child is the victim of a bully, it's almost always a good idea to enlist the help of the other parent.

When the conflict turns violent. If you or your child believe that bodily harm may result, call the parents. In some cases local authorities may need be involved. This is especially true if the other child has already turned to violence. Treat threats in the same manner. This should be taken very seriously, and if the parent simply dismisses this behavior you may have to turn it over anyway. If the child attends the same school, you should let school officials know what is going on and to be alert. This is true even if the threats or violence did not occur there, it may spill over.

It can be hard to hear that your child is doing or saying inappropriate things, keep this in mind when you talk to the other parent. Check your emotions at the door and approach in a non confrontational way. Let the other parent know that you are sure that they are not aware of the problem and you are sorry that you have to meet them under the circumstances, but..., and continue. Many times, you will find that the parent is unaware that their child is behaving in this manner.

You may run into a parent with a bad attitude, that either gets angry or says that their kid is "just being a kid". For the parent that isn't taking it seriously, just add, "I know that it doesn't seem like a big deal but myself and my child are really concerned about this." Sometimes, that just may be enough.When the parent becomes confrontational, end the conversation or simply leave. You could be putting yourself in harms way. Do not be bullied by another parent. To put an end to their child's behavior in this case I strongly recommend bringing in a third party. The important thing is that you stop your child from being harassed and bullied by another child, even if that means being the bad guy.

Sadly, we have seen the outcome of children that have been relentlessly bullied and our hearts go out to these families. If you are still not getting results from the school or authorities, do not just let it be. We're our children's advocates. Also, keep in mind and make sure that your child isn't the one doing the bullying.

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