Ep #85: Bullying in the Preschool Classroom: What to Do When a Parent Tells You Their Child Is Getting Bullied
In the last two episodes, Dan St. Romain and I sat down and discussed everything from how to teach your students to become more independent to how to get them not to interrupt you during small group time.
Today, he and I will be tackling another hot topic: What to do when a parent tells you their child is being bullied.
Nothing strikes fear in a teacher’s heart more than hearing from a parent who says their child has been bullied.
As a teacher, hearing those words makes us feel like we’ve let our students down.
Bullying should never happen in the preschool classroom, that’s a given. But once a parent mentions it, there’s no going back.
What’s the first thing you should do? And what words should you use to discuss it with your young students’ parents?
These are a few of the questions Dan and I discuss and answer in today’s episode.
Are you ready?
Let’s dive in!
First Things First: Has Bullying Really Increased?
Bullying is a hot topic that many of teachers have had to deal with in more recent years. Why? Has bullying increased? Or has the awareness of bullying increased?
Well, as Dan said in the episode above, there are certain words that we become more aware of over time. One word that has risen to the top of the list recently is “bullied.”
Bullying has always existed, but because we’re more aware of it now, we’re hearing about it more often.
The Importance of Building a Positive Relationship With Parents
It is so important that we preschool teachers have a good working relationship with parents. Your relationship with the parents of your students is going to be the first thing that determines how you receive information.
If the first time the parent hears from you is something negative, they may potentially shut down. So, in the beginning of the year, make sure to build that relationship with the parents. And when you do have to deal with sensitive topics, like bullying, you’ll find it much easier to discuss it with parents.
When you work with a parent and you give them information, that is all filtered through the relationship. And if the relationship is positive, they will be more open to work alongside you to solve whatever issue has arisen. If you haven’t been able to build a strong relationship with the parents, then they might go to a place of judgment when problems happen.
One way to build a good relationship with your students’ parents is to be proactive. And by that, we mean meeting the parents at the beginning of the school year and helping them understand who you are and what you want to accomplish as their child’s teacher.
Proactively work with parents, and you’ll find that when you do have to discuss delicate issues with them, they’ll be more open to listen and work together.
What to Do If a Parent Tells You Their Child Is Getting Bullied
If a parent sends you an email or a note saying that their child is being bullied, it’s imperative that you don’t reply in the same format. As you know, writing doesn’t always convey the right emotions, or the right tone. And that means if you answer in writing, your intentions might get lost in translation.
The solution? Ask for a face to face meeting. It’s always better to be able to sit down with a parent and talk to them. Not only will it help you understand the issue better, it will also help you convey that you care and that you will take steps to solve the problem.
And if a face to face meeting is not possible, well then, go for the next best thing: A phone call! The most important thing here is that you can have direct contact with the parent so no misunderstandings happen.
Dan and I discuss all of this in more depth in the episode above, so make sure to give it a listen when you can!
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