No parent wants to see their child suffer at the hands of a bully. As much as we would like to shield
them from horrible people, as parents, we have to be realistic. Our job is to prepare our kids for life in
the real world and that means helping them learn how to cope with mean people.
Here are 7 ways you can help your child cope with bullying:
1. Have your kid's back. If your child tells you that someone was mean to them. Don't brush it off
as a harmless childhood interaction. This is an opportunity to help your child learn vital coping
skills. If you want your child to come to you for help, you need to give them help when they ask
2. Don't tell your child to ignore the mean kid or to handle it themselves. If they knew how to
handle themselves, they wouldn't have come to you for advice. Telling them to ignore a bully
isn't helpful. Give them real help so that they learn you really are someone worth confiding in.
3. Be specific. You need to teach your child something specific they can do to get the bullying to
stop. You also need to teach them why what you are teaching them will work and also how it
works. Information is power. Share your knowledge, all your knowledge with your kid. They
will tell you when too much is enough and when it is time for you to stop lecturing them.
4. Give them something constructive they can do. Don't ask them to be passive. When it comes to
bullying, your kid needs to know how exactly to respond to a bully to get the bullying to stop.
They need to be told what to say and how to say it. And you need to help them practice their
response with some role playing before you send them back to school. The key to getting bullies
to stop is to not reinforce their bad behavior.
In my book, The Bully Vaccine, I outline the
specific steps you need to teach your child to get the bullying to stop.
A phrase to say to a bully every time a bully is mean to them. This phrase should be
boring and off topic so that it won't reinforce the bullying.
The critical importance of reporting each and every incident of bullying to a teacher
Encouragement to stand up and report the bullying that is happening to other kids.
Speak to the principal and the teacher(s) on your child's behalf. Don't just tell your kid to tell the
teacher themselves. Teachers are not always aware of what is going on and some kids don't feel
comfortable speaking to adults. Additionally, children learn by example. So let your child know
you are planning to speak to the principal and their teacher so that the teachers at the school can
be effectively mobilized to help your child. Make sure to share the outcome of those meetings
with your kid so that they know what is being done to help keep them safe. When your child sees
you standing up for them and sees that the adults around them are willing to help them, it
empowers them to continue speaking up and to continue reporting the bullying, which is
essential if the bullying is going to be stopped.
This tip sheet is provided by Jennifer Hancock, author of 'The Bully Vaccine.' To learn more about how to deal with bullying and find out how to purchase the book, visit her website at: http//thebullyvaccine.com .
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.