Tips on Teaching Your Child To Cope With Bullies

We've all met a bully. Whether it was in person or online, on the playground or at work, boy or girl. Both kids and adults report being bullied at a similar rate.

What should you do when your child is the one dealing with a bully? Back-to-school bliss can quickly transform into misery if they're struggling with another student harassing them.

Here are some things you can do to help them through it.

Bullying. What is it?

We believe it is important for parent's to know what bullying isn't.

Even though bullying can come in many different forms, it’s important to know the difference between normal disagreements and conflicts with friends or siblings. Sometimes children say things that are mean or insensitive, but it doesn’t mean they were intended to inflict real harm. If your child tells you he/she is being bullied make sure it is not general teasing or common disagreements first, before getting more serious about the situation. usually just a one-time correction will do in these cases.

Bullying is much more serious than this. The three main characteristics of bullying are (as UNICEF Defines it): repetition, intent, and power.

  • Repetition: Bullies don't do things just once. Bullies are repeat offenders.

  • Intention: A bully has the intention for their words and actions to be harmful.

  • Power: Bullies are usually kids who are, stronger, bigger or more popular than the people they bully. Part of why they have this status is because they are bullies.

If your child is a victim of bullying

Here are some things you can do if you discover that your child is being bullied:

  • Listen and believe your child. Your child needs to know he/she is heard, understood and taken seriously. Even if you suspect that it might not be actual bullying they are experiencing - don't write them off before gathering more facts! The issue could very well actually exist; in order for your kid to think of us as someone who cares about what happens with him/her, work together on how best respond to the situation.

  • Make teachers and authority figures aware of the situation. Bullying happens most often at school, so be sure to get a teacher or principal. They will have valuable insight on how best to address the situation and whether involvement from parent’s is needed.

  • Be supportive with your child. Don't forget to reinforce the truth that your child can come talk to you with any concern they may have. If they feel supported at home, it will help build their confidence to overcome bullying!

  • Practice with "what if" games. It's important to build your child’s confidence by helping them think of behaviors that would rob bullies of the reactions they are looking for. (For example, laugh at the bullies, because their mean jokes are ridiculous!)