Feb 04 2012
Stop the Bullying: What Parents of Gifted Children Can Do to Help All Children
She is gifted and kept a painful secret for 2 and ½ years from her parents until she could keep it no longer. She had been bullied by her gifted peers and no one knew about it. She didn’t tell any adults, including her parents and if any teachers saw it, no one spoke up on her behalf. So no adults intervened.
When her parents learned of her secret and told the school what had happened, school officials expressed sadness that there was nothing they could do without witnesses. Her parents knew in an instant that she was no longer safe in that school and with less than 3 months of school left before graduation, made other plans for her to finish out the school year.
Today, this student has recovered fully from the tremendous emotional pain she endured and has put the months of hidden emotional/verbal bullying, commonly called relational aggression, by her peers behind her. She is thriving in high school and looks forward to a bright and promising future in college and beyond.
But this student is one of the very lucky ones to receive effective intervention and support by her parents and other caring adults in her life. Other students aren’t always so lucky. Long-lasting depression, anxiety, and violent thoughts are some of the darker consequences for anyone who has been bullied.
Yet as this student’s parents discovered, there is much each parent can do by taking a proactive stance to prevent bullying and to minimize its impact if it does happen. Here are some truly valuable tips for parents from the article, “Bullying and Gifted Learners” by Teri M. Guilbault:
1. Ask your child directly if he or she has been bullied.
2. Encourage your child to make contact with friendly students in their classes.
3. Teach your child how to safely seek help from a trustworthy adult at school.
4. Practice assertiveness with your child. Have him or her stand with arms at sides (not crossed), look at the bully with body turned slightly at an angle and say in a calm, but assertive tone, “Stop it! Leave me alone.”
5. Discuss the difference from tattling and telling.
6. Teach your child never to walk alone in areas where bullying occurs.
7. Listen to your child’s concerns and validate them.
8. Empower your child to come up with possible solutions and ask how you can support or help him or her.
9. Help your child to express anger and deal with stress in safe ways.
10. Develop your child’s strengths and talents.
11. Know your child’s friends and stop teasing and bullying behavior in your home
12. Teach your child to intervene and speak up when others are being bullied.
Guilbault has excellent insights into the problem of bullying of gifted learners so you might want to read her entire article to help you stop the bullying in your school. As parents, you can make a difference in breaking the cycle of bullying so do not hesitate to begin today.