Student Leadership & Well-Being
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How can I help my child deal with bullying?
Many children are too embarrassed or are afraid to tell an adult about bullying. They may think that involving an adult will only make the problem worse. Help prepare children by teaching them socialization skills, modeling friendly behavior, and telling them that you will always be there for them. Mention that if something bothers them, they can also talk with a school counselor.
There are many ways you can help your child deal with bullying.
- Talk about the situation. Although often reluctant at first, many children who are bullied will open up if they are in the right environment. A good place to start these discussions is in the car or other place where you have little eye-to-eye contact. Listen calmly and thoughtfully. Don't promise that you won't tell anyone. Rather, admit that you may need to become involved but you will do your very best not to make problems worse.
- Practice role-playing at home. Encourage your child to react calmly and confidently to taunting. Help your child understand that responding with physical aggression or insults usually will make the problem worse. For example, have your child practice saying "Leave me alone" and then walking away.
- Teach your child behaviors that show confidence rather than shyness and vulnerability. Children can learn to look people in the eye and speak up when they talk. Assure your child that confident behavior can be learned. Help build your child's self-esteem by suggesting that he or she meet others through different activities. Having friends and interests can boost a child's confidence and make him or her less likely to be bullied.
- Encourage your child to think about the qualities that make a good friend.
- Suggest that your child join activities that are supervised by an adult. Bullying is less likely to occur near adults.