What Parents Can Do About Peer Bullying At School

When you observe students, it doesn’t take long to notice that a few students have influence over their peers and that others are continually jockeying for status. Research shows us the frequency and effects of bullying, and more importantly; it gives us some solutions. Here we talk about what parents can do about peer bullying at school.

Studies show that bullies use social power to protect their own status by taking advantage of their peer’s vulnerabilities. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that nearly a third of students aged 12-18 felt bullied—often every single day. When kids feel bullied, their grades drop, and it negatively affects their social well-being, especially for girls. Other studies show that bully victims experience mental health issues after they become adults.

What does research tell us about the solutions? A Canadian study points us to one of the best solutions for peer bullying. It showed that when a peer intervened, bully teasing stopped within 10 seconds or less.

Programs to Address Peer Bulling at School

Implementing an anti-bullying culture at home and school is a good first step towards peer bulling at school prevention. One thing parents can do is to take the lead in starting an anti-bullying program at their school. Your school may be interested in some existing programs that have a proven track record.

The Social Skills Group Intervention (SS-GRIN) encourages schools to form peer social skills groups to learn about perspective taking, communication, and self-control. SS-GRIN successfully reduces bullying rates and has a strong reputation for maintaining the anti-bullying culture.

Another anti-bullying program that you could suggest to your school is the Twemlow program, which takes a “gentle warrior” approach. Parents and teachers play a role in reinforcing the program’s efforts to help kids become courageous, friendly, helpful, respectful, and show self-control.

The Twemlow program incorporates the following components:

  • Zero tolerance for bullying and standing by
  • Removing the classroom peace banner after an incident
  • Physical education plans that teach impulse and anger control
  • Mentoring programs for adults and kids

These programs work best when parents and teachers play a central role.

When you have a warm relationship with your children, they are less likely to become bullies or victims, because they’ll have a stronger sense of security. By working with school leaders and students to change the peer culture around peer bullying, you are modeling positive behavior that lasts for a lifetime.

Contact Us

Contact us to learn more about what parents can do about peer bullying at school. We serve families of San Diego County, including Carlsbad, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, Escondido and surrounding cities.

About Susan Gehrig, PhD

Susan Gehrig, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and founder of Paradox Psychological Services located in Carlsbad. She has a passion for supporting the wellbeing of children and teens. Her expertise is in child mindfulness and self-compassion, cognitive behavioral therapy, and child development. Dr. Gehrig provides psychoeducational testing and therapy services to help build a plan for success. Paradox provides services for families of San Diego North County and greater areas.

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