Twenty-three percent of public schools report bullying among students either daily or weekly, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Given the aggressive nature of bullying, it would seem that this statistic would make parents more prone to stopping this intimidating behavior rather than joining in. While parents should become part of the solution, some are actually part of the problem. Parents who bully -- whether it is bullying a student or another parent -- pose a problem to the school environment and the emotional health of the students and heir families. If you, or your child, feels threatened by a bullying parent, approaching the teacher is a must.
Contact the teacher to set up a conference or a time to chat. Instead of ambushing the teacher after school, let her know about the problem and that you would like to speak with her about finding a solution. Call or email the teacher, explaining about the bullying parent, and ask her to schedule a time to meet either before or after school. While meeting in-person is preferential, a phone call can substitute for a face-to-face conference if there is absolutely no way to set one up.
Explain the situation in a calm manner. While it's challenging to keep your anger at the bullying parent under wraps, yelling at the teacher -- who may have nothing to do with the specific situation -- won't help to solve the problem.
Provide the teacher with all of the facts surrounding the situation, including examples and specific incidences. This includes calls that the other parents may have made to you, emails, threats and aggressive acts towards you or your child.
Keep the conversation centered on your problem. If the bullying parent has other victims, allow them to bring this up with the teacher. This is a time to solve your problem, not add gossip or second-hand stories to your own.
Offer a few suggestions or solutions instead of leaving the whole thing up to the teacher to solve. Ask if she feels that a group meeting at the school to talk things out would work.
Learn the school's policies about bullying and parental involvement. The bullying policies for the children may not include a section on adult or parent bullies. Look through your child's school handbook or talk to an administrator about parent-specific policies.
- Assess if the parent-bully is simply acting aggressively or there was an incident that set her off. Find out if she is reacting -- or rather, over-reacting -- to something that your child did to hers, such as name calling.
- Don't confront the bullying parent if she is acting aggressive. If she is engaging in physical or verbal aggression, simply walk away and wait to talk to the teacher.
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