5 Tips to Ensure Your Kids Are Protected in School from Bullies

Bullying is an increasingly significant problem in today’s schools. Facing pressures at home, many children lash out at others for anything deemed different or unique. The cost of bullying on a growing child’s self-esteem can be catastrophic, especially if it continues unchecked over time.

Many children are too ashamed or embarrassed to admit when they’re being bullied. He or she may feel alone and helpless to stop the teasing or attacks. That’s why it’s crucial for a parent to take steps to react to any bullying situation promptly and to teach your child how to take care of themselves.

Teach your child to come to you with any problems

From early on, foster an open relationship with your child. You want them to feel comfortable with coming and telling you the truth, no matter how messy or how scared they might be of the consequences. So, don’t punish them for telling the truth.

Sometimes, due to differences in the way schools are run, a principal or teacher won’t do anything about your child being bullied, even when faced with evidence. You still want to show your child that someone is there to support them and back them up—in fact, this potential situation is when it’s most important.

This article can help you identify and manage your child’s bullying situation before it gets out of hand.

5 tips for your kids

Tip 1: Pay attention to any warning signsPay attention to any warning signs

Be on the lookout for warning signs that someone is bullying your child. These include he or she is acting differently than usual, not wanting to go to school, losing friends or not making new ones, bringing home damaged items frequently, or misplacing items regularly with no good explanation.

If you do spot any of these warning signs, don’t delay in getting to the bottom of the situation. Don’t make your child feel like they are being confronted, which might cause them to be anxious and embarrassed and not tell you everything that is going on. Instead, start a discussion and try to tease out what is really going on. Share similar stories of your own school days to relate to them. This is especially important with older teenagers, who may be more rebellious and harder to connect to.

Tip 2: Talk to your child’s teacher or bus driver firstTalk to your child’s teacher or bus driver first

The first step when you suspect your child of being a victim of bullying is to get into discreet contact with your child’s teacher, either by email or phone. Or, if the incidents are occurring on the bus, contact the bus garage. These authority figures are in the classroom or on the bus every day and they have direct, firsthand knowledge of what is going on. Even if the bullying is low-key, this way they can start looking and intervene as necessary.

If you’ve contacted the teacher or bus driver and the situation is not improving despite multiple complaints, then you are free to escalate your contact to the administration. Try to bring documentation of the incidents, as explained to you by your son or daughter, as well as of what attempts you’ve made so far to get the teacher or other authority figure involved.

Tip 3: If you identify a specific bully, get in contact with their parentsIf you identify a specific bully, get in contact with their parents

Often parents of bullies aren’t aware that their child is the aggressor. If your child is being targeted by a specific bully, first alert the school. Request that either the parents be contacted or that you have their number to do it yourself. And don’t hesitate to follow through—it may feel like an awkward situation, but it doesn’t hand to wind up as a confrontation.

Approach contacting them, especially for the first time, as both sets of parents against the issue, not against each other or against either of your children. If the other parents brush off the situation or worse, if you get the feeling that the bully’s aggression stems from their home life, then you will have to follow other avenues.

Tip 4: Teach your child alternatives to fighting backTeach your child alternatives to fighting back

Many of us growing up were taught to fight back if a bully attacked us, and while it doesn’t hurt to learn some basic defensive moves, it’s best to teach your child how to de-escalate a confrontation. Often, fighting back can lead to a worse scuffle, ending in injuries for your child, or alternatively, the school taking corrective action against your child instead of, or in addition to, the bully. Schools with no-tolerance violence policies are especially prone to this.

Teach your child to stick with their friends in the lunchroom, in the hallways, and on the bus. Aggressors, just like any predators, usually target individuals over a group. Make sure he or she knows to go to an authority figure whenever the bully does something to them. It’s better to let the adults handle these situations, and it has the added bonus creating witnesses to bullying events, in case you need them later.

If needed, you can also enroll your child in martial arts or self-defense classes, just to be safe, but make sure to let them know that physical aggression should be an absolute last resort.

Tip 5: Teach simple tricks to make your child bully resistantTeach simple tricks to make your child bully resistant

There are a few things that can help make your child less of a potential victim. One is to encourage a positive sense of self at home. Encourage assertiveness from an early age—whenever another child steals something from them or is otherwise aggressive, encourage them to stand up for themselves in a firm, no-nonsense way. This is better than them falling apart or crying, which will only prove to a bully that what they are doing is working. Teach them to build up resilience, for example, if they do poorly on a test or are disappointed at the outcome of a project, to keep trying again instead of dwelling on their failure. These basic guidelines can help them build their self-esteem, making them less of an easy target.

No school is immune from bullies

No matter public or private, or the income level of the students, every school has issues with bullies. The stress of modern living and the fragile economy continues to have a ripple effect on home lives that shows up as increased aggression. By teaching your child to be assertive and to come to you or other adults with problems, you are instilling in them a sense of confidence that not only can stop bullying, but also help them as they grow into adults.

5 Safety Tips for Women When Walking Alone At Night

Most women will find themselves having to walk alone at night at one time or another. Even in suburban and rural areas, the rising costs of car maintenance and transportation has increased the number of women resorting to traveling on foot. There are many reasons that you might find yourself walking at night, including emergencies, temporary loss of transportation, and last-minute schedule changes. This article will provide you with 5 basic safety tips to help you protect yourself.

Staying alert and aware of danger signs can help you prevent becoming the victim of an attack or other crime. Before you start out to your destination, make sure to text or call a close friend or family member so that they know that you are going. This is a good way of ensuring that someone knows where you are in case something unexpected happens.

If walking will be a long-term arrangement, consider investing in some self-defense classes, especially those targeted toward women. You can learn a few basic, easy moves to help yourself in case you are attacked on the street. In the short-term, read on to learn specific ways to keep safe.

Tip 1: Attempt to find an alternate way to your destination

Before you try walking alone, attempt to arrange something safer. Consider your options—ask friends, family members, or trusted coworkers for a ride. You can also look into your local public transportation options. If you can afford it, hiring a cab is a great investment. If those options don’t work, try asking a friend or coworker to walk with you. There truly is safety in numbers—a potential criminal is less likely to target a pair or group than an individual.

Tip 2: Stay alert and appear engaged

If you do have to walk, make yourself less of a potential target. Keep your head lifted and your eyes forward, occasionally scanning from side to side to catch what is going on around you. Don’t spend too much time staring at your phone. You want to be very aware of who and what is around you at all times, especially if you are unfamiliar with the area.

Even though you may be tempted, an important part of being aware is being able to hear what is going on. So keep your headphones off until you reach your destination. If you know beforehand that you will be walking home, bring comfortable running shoes or sneakers that you can change into. The last thing you want to do is jog or run in high heels.Sneakers

Tip 3: Stay on busy streets and avoid questionable places

Whenever possible, stay around crowds on the main streets and trails. By staying in heavily frequented areas you reduce your risk of crime. Most criminals prefer dark alleyways and hidden places so that they won’t be seen. Plan out the path you’re going to take, using a directions app if your phone has one so that you can avoid questionable locations. Be especially wary in places like parking lots at night, because even though these are heavily used during the day, criminals often hang out at night there to wait for victims and make a quick getaway.

Before you go around a corner, step out further from the building so that you can peer around the side and make sure there are no dangers lurking ahead, like a predator. If you’re in a location without sidewalks, walk along the side of the road in the opposite direction of the traffic. Try to stay away from areas with dense trees, no streetlights, or dirt paths instead of paved roads.

Tip 4: Always trust your gut instincts

Suppose during your journey, you get the feeling something isn’t quite right. You may tell yourself that you’re just being paranoid, but it’s always better to trust your instincts than to be the victim of a crime. If you pick up signs of fishy behavior, like an unfamiliar car that keeps circling the block around you or someone suspicious, you should immediately divert from your planned route. Head to the busiest area you can find. If you are really worried, either call the police immediately or find someone at the nearest gas station or other open business who can do it.

Another scenario is discovering that you’re being followed. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to be aware of the people around you. Scan the faces of travelers that you pass. If you keep seeing the same person even after you change streets, that could be a sign. They might walk ahead of you or off to the side instead of behind you, but if they keep reappearing over a significant walk, that’s a red flag. Another potential danger sign is a car that slows down and follows a few paces behind you.

When you become aware of these signs, stay calm. Keep your pace brisk and steady, and don’t let on that you know you’re being followed. Don’t start jogging or running. Most importantly, change your course instead of heading home. You don’t want the person to know where you live. Instead, head for the most occupied place you can find. Stay there and call the police, and don’t leave until they’ve arrived and checked the situation.call the police

Tip 5: If your night travel is frequent, bring some helpful items along

If you’re going to be walking at night on numerous occasions, consider bringing a few handy items to aid in keeping you safe. The most important is a flashlight. You can find one in pocket size and some even fit on a keychain. Even in well-lit cities, a flashlight can guide you through unexpected dark areas like alleys. It can also be used to momentarily blind would-be attackers or to signal for help. For high-traffic areas, a bright vest with reflective strips can keep you safe because oncoming cars will see you. Consider purchasing some pepper spray if it’s legal where you live, especially if there is a high crime rate.

Walking home can be worrisome for any woman, no matter your age or the area in which you live. However, with these tips, you can minimize many dangers, stay alert, and increase your chances of arriving home safely.