How Should Parents Handle A Bully? - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

How Should Parents Handle A Bully?

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What should you do if your child is the victim of cyber-bullying? What if your child is the one doing the bullying?

Parents in Clinton are asking these questions as school administrators work to remove a mean-spirited Facebook page off the web. Cyber-bullying pages that just keep popping up.

"I was appalled by the language," said Clinton Schools Superintendent, Deb Olson. "I was appalled by the content of it. As a parent I would have been very disgusted if my child was involved with it." School administrators said a Washington Middle School student started the Facebook page sometime on Wednesday. Now, teachers have no choice but to use the incident as a tool for learning --

"We want to make sure they understand how wrong this is," Olson said. "And how hurtful it can be to somebody else." But what can parents do upon finding out their child has been a victim of bullying?

"Whatever it is that has been thrown out there as an offensive comment, reassure the student that it is not true and they do not need to believe that about themselves." Jocelyn Meyer is a youth counselor with Bridgeview Community Mental Health Center in Clinton.

Meyer says the lines of communication between parent and child need to be open in order for the parent to truly understand what's going on at school.

"Their child has to feel comfortable going to their parent and telling them that they've seen this," Meyer said. Once parents know there's a problem, they should let their child help decide how it should be handled --

"Mom and Dad don't try and fix the problem for your child, work at it together, problem solve together," Meyer explained. "What do they feel comfortable doing as far as addressing this?"

When the situation is different, when a parent finds out their own child is being accused of bullying, parents many times become defensive. Meyer says try not to be that way --

"They need to own up to it and admit, yes, my kid did that. I know some parents become defensive, 'No, my child would never be capable of doing that.' Honestly, any one of us is capable of doing something unkind."

Also, if your child is a bully, it may be a sign of a deeper issue. "It's a way of exerting power and control over another person," said Meyer.

"Often because, in his or her own life, it feels like things are out of control. Situations are going on at home, mom and dad are fighting all the time. Maybe it's feeling like they don't have any attention."

If bullying continues to be an issue, no matter which side of the conflict a child is on, counseling services could help get to the heart of the problem.

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