- 9 out of GLBT teens are victims of anti-gay bullying. (Gay, Straight Education Network)
- · More than 50% of GLBT students who took a P.E. class were bullied or harassed during that class. (Gay, Straight Education Network)
- · 28% of GLBT students will drop out of school. (About.com GLBT Teens)
- · Victims of bullying may suffer mental and general health consequences after bullying occurs. (Mental Health guidelines)
No wonder your GLBT child is dreading school. Here it is mid-August and that unsettled feeling has already invaded your household. He/she knows that anyone can be bullied, but chances are he will be targeted because he is perceived as “different” or vulnerable.
As parents, you want to protect your children from bullying. How can you help?
Here are some Tips:
- · Start now before school starts to practice anti-bullying strategies. Teach resilience!
- · It’s important to be specific in defining what bullying is: physical abuse, verbal taunting, online harassment or even passing along a hurtful message or rumor. (This is different from dramawhich is short-lived and over-reaction.)
- · Bullying is done on purpose.
- · Encourage friendships. If your child has many friends and appears to be popular, he’d be less apt to be targeted.
- · Promote self-confidence rather than self-pity. A humorous line such as “I don’t care what you’re saying about me. I have better things to do with my time” is off-putting to the bully. You child can then walk away with confidence.
- · Rehearse hypothetical situations in which a bully can taunt your child. Help your child come out with solutions in which she can stand up for herself.
- · Your child should know where to go for help at school – a trusted teacher, guidance counselor, principal. Role play on what she should say. Emphasize that this is not tattling.
- · Learn how bullying is handled in your child’s classroom, but don’t assume the teacher will “stick his neck out” for your child, particularly if he/she may be GLBT and worried about job safety.
- · Know your child’s school policies on bullying.
- · Be a good role model. How do you retaliate when you’re offended by someone? Be careful about what you say about people who are “different.”
- For more anti-bullying tactics, see my former blog post: http://straightparentgaykid.blogspot.com/Back-to-School Bullying
Next week, I’ll write about ways to combat insidious cyberbullying.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.