How to Help Your Child Handle Bullies
Bullies aren't just for kids. But teaching kids how to deal with bullies early sets them up with good coping skills for life. Because who hasn't had a relative or coworker try to boss you around? These are great tips for the rest of us too!
Bullying can be serious. To gauge the situation, you need to get the facts without interrogating your child into clamming up. If you suspect your child is being bullied, get as much information as you can. Talk to the teacher, school counselor, and whoever pulls playground duty. When you talk to your child, make observations about particular kids or relationships and then wait for a response.
Bully Busting Skills
Let kids know they are not powerless. Instead of running to the rescue at the first sign of conflict, teach kids how to face the bully themselves. Teach them to boost their own confidence with positive self-talk. I think I can! I think I can! For run of the mill bullies who prey on weakness, this alone can do wonders. Be the bully and let your child role play to practice the new skills. Teach your child to use these tricks to BAIL himself out of a bad situation.
- Be Direct with the bully: "I don't like that. Please stop."
- Avoid the bully
- Ignore the bully
- Laugh: make a joke along with the bully to disarm him
Teach your child to keep emotions out of interactions with a bully. He needs to stick to the facts and speak in terms of what of he thinks rather than what he feels. Although bullies can find your sensitive spots to exploit, they're not empathetic to your pain. Exposing your hurts can instigate even more bullying.
We want to help our kids fend for themselves, but make sure your child knows that if the bully is relentless, makes threats or otherwise frightens him, it's okay to ask for help.
Are You Creating a Bully?
If your child gets bossy, look at your own behavior. Unless you're perfect, you've got to own up to bullying your kids once in a while. We are constantly modeling the behavior our kids will pick up, whether we mean to or not.
- Do you blame when he does something wrong? What were you thinking?
- Do you threaten your child? One more time and you'll be sorry.
- Do you act like a drill sergeant? I said NOW!
And then there's the matter of sarcasm. Each smart remark directed at your child will pay you back tenfold. Trust me on this.
Bullies will always be with us. If you can teach your child now how to deal with them now, he'll thank you later.