When responding to the concerns of parents and caregivers whose children are involved in a bullying situation, a problem-solving approach can inject into the process a constructive, positive and non-judgmental tone. (See Problem-Solving.) Teachers can problem-solve with parents and caregivers to assist them in identifying strategies they can use to support their child through the situation in collaboration with the school.
As an aid for teachers to facilitate the development of an action plan for parents and caregivers, we propose the use of a problem-solving tool for empowerment created by COPA. It provides a fluid and responsive structured framework oriented to practical power sharing with parents and caregivers. Ensuring a flexible, sensitive and responsive interaction with the parent or caregiver is always more important than the method, which is simply meant to provide a format for this process.
Teachers’ involvement in the development of an action plan enabling parents and caregivers to offer effective support to their children enhances their ability to work collaboratively with the school. Such an approach is reassuring, with an optimistic focus on strategies for a resolution of the situation. It is a strength-based approach, recognizing the value of parents’ and guardians’ skills and experience.
The tool is most likely to be effective when used with a parent or caregiver who recognizes the problem and is motivated to collaborate. At the same time, approaching a situation through problem-solving can foster a spirit of collaboration.