Tips on Helping Your Child Deal with a Bully


Bullies are all around us whether we’re young or old. But it’s kids who have the toughest time dealing with them.

Here are some sure-fire ways to gently guide your child when dealing with a bully.

Put a Name to It

One of the hardest things to do is admit you’re being bullied, that you have buckled under to that pressure at school. If you see that your child’s grades are suffering, that he wants to stay home more and more or you are getting phone calls from the school nurse because he reports to her office more frequently, it’s time to sit down and talk about bullying.

It won’t be easy. But once you get him to open up and tell you what’s going on, you can start to dissolve the shame he is feeling and give him more strength. And, let’s face it: His physical well-being is at stake.

Help him understand that the bully is the one with the issues and that bullies rely on intimidation and fear to increase their self-worth.

Be a Great Listener

A parent’s first reaction may be to run out and confront the child and/or her parents. Stop, resist. That won’t get you anywhere and you will also be engaging in the same sort of behavior as the original bully.

Ask probing questions to find out if the bullying came with a physical threat. If it has, it’s time to take your approach a step further to try to mitigate the situation.

A physical threat needs to be communicated to school officials and even possibly the police. The last thing you want to do is not take something seriously and then physical harm occurs.

But a physical threat is only one aspect of this issue. The emotional scarring and psychological damage are as bad if not worse.

Practice Shame Resilience

Dr. Brené Brown has done a lot of research on shame and shaming behaviors and says that the biggest enemy of shame is to talk about it. If possible, have your child talk to some trusted friends to see if they have been bullied by the same kid. If they have, this may be the way they can band together and be a strong force against him or her.

Speaking Up

A very important component to bullying is the idea that your child needs to speak up if she sees someone else suffering at the hands of a bully.

Her first thought may be that she doesn’t want to become the bully’s next target but she will be every bit as culpable is she doesn’t speak up and try to stop it. It’s important to say something to another whether that is a teacher, parent or friend.

Tips for Kids

Tell your kids they can beat this. Suggest they use the buddy system when they are at school or on the bus and not to give in to their anger. Ignoring the bully will take some practice but eventually they will go away.

Have them talk about being bullied with an adult they trust at school like their guidance counselor. That’s what they are there for and it will help give them a support system at school when you aren’t there to talk to.

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