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What to say to your child if he is being bullied at school

Updated on May 22, 2011

Advice for boys and girls being bullied at school

We all know the dangers of bullying. Children have hurt themselves because they could no longer stand the pain of being bullied at school.

Bullies are cowards, we get that part. They are cowards and sorry to say, usually not that bright (they tend to pick on the smart kids after all).

So, arm your child with comebacks so that your child can use his or her words like a weapon against a bully. My son was bullied and I gave him these comebacks. He remembers the bullying but he laughs about it now that he is older. We all as a family remember this difficult time in his life, but all he remembers now is the comical comebacks, which, by the way, worked like a charm.

Bully says: Hey you, get over here I want to tell you something (to your child at recess, at lunch time or around other children).

Your child should respond: I'm busy with my friends. (Or if alone, tell your child to say) I am not going to come to you, you can grovel and come to me if you like, that will be your choice if you want to tell me something, and it better be important.

Bully says: Why did you tattle/tell on me/tell the teacher I did x or y yesterday? Are you just a baby tattletale?

Your child should say: You think what you did to me was right? I did what was right for myself and told what you did, and I will continue to tell the teacher every time you act out at school. Do you not get enough attention at home? (Your child should not be afraid to tell, and the bully should know each time he bullies your child, it will be reported immediately. Bullies like to work under secrecy, so taking this away often diffuses the situation).

Bully says: Give me your lunch money/give me a pencil/give me some of your paper/give me your shoes/give me your jacket.

Your child should say: I am quite sure if you cannot afford these items you can go to the principal and ask for help paying for things you need for school. (Your child should be as professional as possible, it will give him or her a leg up on the bully).

Bully says: I hate you, no one likes you, you are ugly or I don't like your clothes/hair/shoes.

Your child should say: It's too bad you feel that way when you look in the mirror! (Having a sense of humor will disarm a bully who thinks he is putting fear into your child. Using psychology on the bully is very effective as they will often miss the pun or joke entirely and become the butt of the joke themselves for onlookers to the exchange).

Bully says: After school I am going to teach you a lesson/I am going to beat you up, I will beat you to a pulp or I am going to hurt you for saying/doing that to me.

Your child should say: (after reporting this to the teacher) Thank you for that information. I will pass it on to my uncle who is a police officer and wanted to make a poster on bullies and how they operate, are you ready for your picture to be taken today, will that work for you?

Bully says: We don't want you to sit at our table for lunch, you are a loser, we don't like you sitting next to us, you are not part of our popular crowd so go away.

Your child should say: My mistake, excuse me. I did use my x-ray vision and saw how mean you were inside, but thought I'd give you a second chance today anyway. Thanks for helping me to see the real you, you are right, I would rather sit somewhere else. (This tells the bully thanks for being mean, I now want to not be around you. Bullies think they are God's gift and actually want to be sought out, they do not want to be treated as ignored children, remember, they are bullying for attention. By saying this, your child will tell the bully, no I don't want a friendship with you either, which is empowering for your child).

Bully says: I will kill you, I will kill someone in your family, I will cut you, I will break your arm - (basically anything which suggests a battery or bodily harm to your child).

Your child should say: NOTHING! Absolutely nothing, but should run to an adult as this is a bold threat and should be taken as the criminal threat that it is. As a parent you should press charges against the child and his parents because they are raising a monster. And yes, parents know their children are capable of saying these types of comments or threats, just the same way you know your own child would NEVER dream of saying something like this to another child.

Bully says: Let's be friends, let's have a playdate, we can be friends now, I am sorry how I treated you in the past, come over and play with me/us now.

Your child should say: No thanks, I don't trust you. I trust you as far as (add something ridiculous as a measurement) I could pick up a steam locomotive train and throw it down the track! (This gives your child the power to say no to the bully, and makes your child feel like a winner).

Bully says: You will never amount to anything, you will always be a loser, you will never have any friends or be as popular as me/as I am/as my friends are.

Your child should say: You don't tell me what I am going to be, I alone decide what I will be later in life. And all I can promise is that I never want to be like you!

By having comebacks to the taunts of a bully, your child will gain confidence. Bullies use their words to humiliate and to hurt their "victims" on purpose. Your child need not shirk away in fear of the bully's words. Have him or her turn the words into a joke, or find a way to make the words work against the bully. Bullies want the children they bully to be very afraid of them and their words. If your child talks back to the bully and shows the bully he or she is not afraid, the bully loses his power or her power over your child. The bully turns into an annoying classmate, and nothing more. Teach your child to always tell the teacher or an adult about EVERY incident of bullying, since the incidences can escalate with bullies who will not take NO for an answer. And tell your child how much he or she is loved and how proud you are for getting through this difficult time. With my son, he laughs about it now, but it was a hurtful time in his life. Get your child to find a way to laugh about it as soon as possible, or it will be this traumatic time in 2nd grade or whatever and the child will always remember it with distaste. Soon, it will be forgotten if it can be laughed at in some way.

Good luck and use a comeback on a bully today.

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