6 Steps To Bullyproof Your Child

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6 Steps To Bullyproof Your Child [EXPERT]
Educate and inform your children to help keep bullying out of their lives.

2. Determine if your child is being bullied or is witnessing bullying. Few kids tell their parents that they're being bullied; it's embarrassing. They may feel it's their fault and they worry their parents will blame them.

A helpful approach is to ask your child "are there mean kids at your school?" If s/he answers yes, then get more details by asking open-ended questions such as: What do the bullies do? Where does it tend to happen? Is it just a few kids or more? Who do they bully? How does it feel to witness this? Be sure to empathize about how hard it can be to witness mean behavior and then teach them steps they can take to curtail the behavior. 

After you've asked these general questions then ask your child, specifically, "are there kids that are mean to you, too?" Get as many details as possible and see if the bullying is still occurring.

3. Teach your child effective strategies for stopping a bully. Even if your child isn't currently being bullied, it's helpful to role play what your child can do to stop a bully.

One of the most effective strategies is to state in a clear, firm voice, "stop bugging me and leave me alone" while looking the bully in the eye and standing tall. A bully is trying to gain power and control over your child and if your child stands up to him/her they're demonstrating that they're not a target they're an equal.

If it's a "friend" your child could say, "you probably didn't mean to do this but your comment hurt my feelings and you need to stop. Friends support each other."

Your child can also try using a completely unexpected tactic like thanking the bully, using humor or complimenting the bullying. These strategies catch the bully off guard and your child denies the bully the power and control that they're seeking.

If your child has tried unsuccessfully to stop the bullying you can also choose to document the event(s) to the school and request a meeting to develop a plan for stopping the bullying.

Pacer Center has a template you can use here: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/publications

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