Strategies for Responding to Parents of Students Involved in a Bullying Situation

Effective intervention in bullying situations involves teachers, administrators, and school staffs working together. During a meeting with the parents of a bullied student we can:

  • gather information and facts regarding the bullying situation;
  • develop a cooperative relationship with the parent; encourage the parent to become an ally who will help end the bullying;
  • establish and maintain open lines of communication between the school and the parent.

To help meet these goals we can:

  • provide emotional support to the parents; validate and normalize the parents’ feelings and concerns (e.g. anger, sadness, helplessness, anxiety about their child’s or teen’s safety);
  • recognize that this is a stressful situation for the parents; let the parent express their emotions;
  • communicate our and the school’s concern about the situation, as well as our commitment to end it;
  • ask the parents what their needs and expectations are;
  • use a problem-solving approach to identify solutions and develop an action plan;
  • provide information about the school’s bullying prevention policy, including the steps to follow, and plans to monitor the problem;
  • accept and encourage the parents’ role as their child’s or teen’s “advocate”; elicit the parents’ ideas regarding actions to be taken;
  • let the parents know that we need to do some investigation if we have just been informed of the situation; if the student who is bullied is in danger, it may be necessary to take immediate action;
  • inform the parent of all actions which have been taken to date, and which will be taken in the future, especially if the situation has been occurring for some time;
  • develop a communication plan with the parents;
  • give the parents information about bullying as needed (for example, the impact on the person who experiences it, the importance of natural consequences as well as opportunities for learning and reparation for the student who has bullied).