Bullying is bad! Surveys show that two-thirds of kids are bullied at least once a month for things like weight, wealth, shyness, ethnicity, or learning disabilities. The National Education Association estimates that 160-thousand children skip school every day because they’re afraid of being harassed or victimized. But according to MSN, no matter why it’s happening, bullying can have serious, long-term psychological consequences. Bullied children often grow up to be bullies themselves. And they’re at higher risk for depression and suicidal thoughts than other kids. So here’s how to help your kid cope with bullying:
- First, believe it when they tell you they’re being bullied. And don’t blame them or assume they did something to provoke it.
- Next, never tell your child to ignore bullying. It's a serious problem that needs to be addressed. So, encourage them to stand up to the bully. Like, if name-calling is an issue, teach them the "broken-record" technique. Basically, something they can repeat in a calm, monotone voice, like: "I have to go now. I know what you think, but I have to go now. Think what you want, but I have to go now." Why does that work? Repetition takes all the fun out of name-calling. Bullies count on making you mad or afraid. But when there's no resistance, the confrontation becomes meaningless and the bully will often just walk away.
So, what if you discover your child is the bully? Borba says it’s a big step to just admit it. Many parents deny it, or see it as a leadership trait.
- First, ask yourself why your child bullies others. Are they mimicking what they see at home? Do they want attention or need friends? Whatever the cause, you need to immediately make it clear that you won’t tolerate bullying.
- Then, spend more time with your kid. And figure out when, where, and how they’re threatening other children – and insist that they stop.
- Finally, no matter who’s doing the bullying, if it doesn’t stop, you may need to talk to their teacher, principal, or school counselor. Or take them to see a therapist.