Saturday, April 17, 2010

How Can I Help My Child Deal with a Bully?

In light of the recent Phoebe Prince bully case highlighted on the cover of this week’s People magazine, many of our P&H Kids blog readers may be wondering, “How can I help my child deal with a bully?” Unfortunately, in national surveys, most kids and teenagers say that bullying occurs at their school, so how can we help out kids deal with these unsettling situations?

We certainly don’t have all the answers but here are a few tips and resources on how to help your child deal with bullies at school.

• Make it clear that it is NOT your child’s fault they are being bullied.

• Never tell your child to ignore the bullying because this makes it seem insignificant to you. To your child, being bullied may affect every aspect of their days so you don’t want it to seem unimportant. Offer comfort and support if your child tells you they feel bullied by a peer.

• Praise your child for telling you they have been bullied. This takes a lot of courage.

• Encourage your child to tell an adult they trust when the bullying occurs. Reiterate that this is not “telling” on the bully. Tell your child they have a right to feel safe at school and by getting help, they can make the bullying stop.

• Learn as much as you can about the bullying incidents. Ask who was involved, what happened, were there any other adults around to witness the bullying, and how often it occurs. The more you know, the more you can help.

• Do not encourage retaliation towards bullies. This will usually result in your child being disciplined at school as well.

• As a parent, it is important to keep your anger in check when your child is being bullied. Be as rational as possible and stick to the facts of the bullying incident. Do not act on emotion.

• Work with your child’s school to see what policies are in place with bullying issues at school.

• Encourage your child to get together with friends that build up their confidence and that are good influences.

Here are some resources for helping your child deal with bullies.

MSN ‘s Kids Health: Helping Kids Deal with Bullies


My Child’s Safety

Stop Bullying Now

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