Saturday, March 14, 2015

How to Help a Child who is Being Bullied


This is a tough topic.  We all feel sorry for the victims of bullies...and yet, the bullies themselves often come from terrible home situations which fuel their behavior.  When my son was being bullied by a boy he sat by at school here are the steps I took which seemed to work well.

1.  Find out the full story.  If your child hints at being bullied, stop what you are doing and take the time to get the whole story.  Find out if he is doing things to exacerbate the problem and aggrevate the bully's behavior.  You need to get the whole picture in order to fix what is wrong.

2. Once you understand the situation, talk with your child's teacher.  Teachers are usually committed to stop bullying, so they will be your ally.  They can talk with the bully and his parents if necessary.  It is never a child's responsibility to stop a bully problem.  Only adults are equipped to stop a bully.  Teachers need to be aware of what is happening, so they can foresee and prevent potential problems from happening.

3. Remove the child from the situation as best as possible.  If he sits by the bully, have him move to the opposite end of the classroom.  Teach your children to walk away from bullies and find a teacher.  If cyber-bullying is the problem, help your children block the offenders from their phones and email, and teach them to stay away from sites the bullies go on.

4. Give your child skills.  If they encounter a bully, help them know to remove themselves from the situation and report it to a teacher or parent right away.  Help them not to do things that will not exacerbate the problem, such as needling the bully about a sore subject.  Tell your child not to say mean things back to the bully, as it may escalate the problem.  If they see others being bullied, they should tell a teacher right away.

5.  Help them understand that it is not their fault.  No child deserves to be bullied. Help them understand that it is not their character that invites bullying.  Teach them that bullies usually have hard home lives and that they haven't learned to get their needs met appropriately.  Tell your children to be kind, but to stay away from the bullying behavior.

6.  Help your children have confidence and self-esteem through love at home and developing their talents.  This way, mean words won't bother them so much.  Help them know that mean things people say are never true, and that they can ignore and not believe the words a bully uses.  This is a skill they will need to have for it is important to teach and re-teach this principle.

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