“Start by advising your child to ignore them and to not react. Explaining how, often a bully is just trying to get a reaction and if you don’t give it to them, they may get bored and give up.”
How to help your kid handle bullies
When kids bully it can take many different forms. It’s not always the traditional hair pulling, tripping in the hallways, ready for a fist fight version of a bully portrayed in film or T.V. Many times it is the name calling, the picking on and the excluding which are more subtle, but almost more painful ways that bullying happens everyday to kids.
We need to have a broader dialogue with our tween aged kids about what constitutes bullying and what they can do about it if it is happening to them. We also need to let them know that complacency is guilt by association. I’ll explain that for Ivanka Trump: meaning if you see another child being picked on and you do nothing, you are partially responsible.
My eleven year old was upset the other day about wearing a new sweatshirt I had bought him, saying that a kid at school told him he looked like he was wearing a towel. I asked why he says things like that and my son explained that some boys in his fifth grade like to engage in what they call “roasting” one another. He says they give insults until they get the kid upset. He claimed it didn’t really bother him too much, but I could tell by the fact that he was now questioning his new shirt that he had previously to be “roasted, really liked.
This is the age where we as parents need to step back more than we had in the earlier years and help our kids resolve problems for themselves. Unless of course that no longer works and intervening is the only alternative, especially if someone is being hurt or ganged up on. But it is important to give our kids a chance to stand up for themselves so that they can go forward with the confidence of peaceful and appropriate conflict resolution skills.
A few thoughts of advice for a kid being bullied:
Start by advising your child to ignore them and to not react. Explaining how, often a bully is just trying to get a reaction and if you don’t give it to them, they may get bored and give up.
If that fails, offer to your child to confront the bully and ask them why they want to be so mean? To take the fun out of their taunting by calling it what it is, unkindness.
Don’t let them in your head. This is hard enough for most adults, but it is important to help kids to understand that by not wearing that sweatshirt, for example, they are giving the bully a lot of power over them.
If all else fails, and the situation is too difficult, seek help. Ask a playground attendant, a teacher or an adult for help in the moment to resolve the situation. No kid wants to be labeled a tattletale, but they may just be preventing other kids from being picked on too.