How your child should handle bullies – and how you should proceed if your child is doing the bullying

Ready 4 School
SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics

When your child is bullied

  • Alert school officials to the problems and work with them on solutions.
  • Teach your child to be comfortable with when and how to ask a trusted adult for help. Ask them to identify who they can ask for help. 
  • Recognize the serious nature of bullying and acknowledge your child’s feelings about being bullied.
  • Help your child learn how to respond by teaching your child how to:
  1. Look the bully in the eye.
  2. Stand tall and stay calm in a difficult situation.
  3. Walk away.
  • Teach your child how to say in a firm voice:
  1. “I don’t like what you are doing.”
  2. “Please do NOT talk to me like that.”
  • Encourage your child to make friends with other children.
  • Support outside activities that interest your child.
  • Make sure an adult who knows about the bullying can watch out for your child’s safety and well-being when you cannot be there.
  • Monitor your child’s social media or texting interactions so you can identify problems before they get out of hand.

When your child is the bully

  • Be sure your child knows that bullying is never okay.
  • Set firm and consistent limits on your child’s aggressive behavior.
  • Help your child learn empathy by asking him to consider how the other children feel about the way your child treated them.  Ask your child how he would feel if someone bullied him.
  • Be a positive role mode. Show children they can get what they want without teasing, threatening or hurting someone.
  • Use effective, non-physical discipline, such as loss of privileges.
  • Focus on praising your child when he behaves in positive ways such as helping or being kind to other children as opposed to bullying them.
  • Develop practical solutions with the school principal, teachers, school social workers or psychologists, and parents of the children your child has bullied. 

When your child is a bystander

  • Encourage your child to tell a trusted adult about the bullying. Encourage your child to join with others in telling bullies to stop.
  • Help your child support other children who may be bullied. Encourage your child to include these children in activities.

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