What to Do If Your Child is Bullied

Sending your child off to school is exciting. Remember though, that it could have its problems – especially at the school playground which has its fair share of bullies, bouts of teasing and mean kids. The figures also back this up quite well, with the National Education Association stating that 160,000 children miss school due to the fear of being threatened or attacked by other kids. If your child also faces these problems, here are a few tips on how to deal with it:

1. Listen. Get the facts right. Ask your child to tell you the whole story – do not interrupt. Listen to the entire spiel, all the time, figuring out what happened, the kids involved, when the teasing began and the most important – why your child was teased. If it turns out that it is harmless, then monitor how your child keeps reacting to the teasing – if it does not stop, that is where you can offer some advice on more effective methods.

2. Strategy. Talk about a range of different bully-proof strategies with your child and help him/her choose a few they are comfortable with. The most successful ones include:

– Being assertive. Teach your child that an eye for an eye is not the best way to solve the problem. Instead, teach him to stand up to the bully and use a firm voice asking the bully to stop. “I want you to stop bullying me” or “Why would you say something like that?”
– Agreement. Help your child to come up with statements that agree with teasing statements put across by the bully. After a while, the bully might just get tired of it and leave your child alone.
– Ignore. This is the best way to deal with teasing. Teach your child to act nonchalant and look uninterested.
– Reply. Showing that you will not let the bullying get to you, is one way of telling the bully to back off. Teach your kid to reply every tease, such as if the bully says “you are an idiot” – your child could say, “Ya, so?” or “Oh thanks!”

3. Practice. Once you and your child have settled on a technique, then practice it as many times as your child wants, and until he/she is comfortable with it. Make sure you instill in your child that he/she should stay calm through the entire confrontation.