How To Stop Bullying: 20 Anti-Bullying Tips From Psychology Experts That Work

Sep 13, 2016

Good parenting means we must imagine bullying scenarios and try not to shiver: The hallway, where a mean-girl bully grabs our daughter’s hair and yanks her backwards to the floor, so that everyone laughs. The lunchroom, where the bully knocks down our son’s tray, spilling his lunch, and leaving him in tears. It’s completely natural for a parent to fear their child will be bullied at school and when it does happen, you may lose sight of what the appropriate things to do and say are.

Their fear is totally justified, too, since bullying statistics show that it can not only pose a threat to their self-esteem, but to a child’s long term mental health if it’s not handled correctly.  Children take bullying very seriously, said Debra Pepler, Ph.D., director of the LaMarsh Centre for Research on Violence and Conflict Resolution at York University in Toronto in an interview with Parents: “There are people who carry these concerns throughout their lives.” At worst, bullying can lead to thoughts of suicide. In fact, the two shooters in the infamous Columbine High School tragedy were bullied youngsters who retaliated.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”

Bullying is not only physical either, such as hitting, kicking or pushing. It can also entail stealing or ruining someone’s possessions or can manifest itself verbally through teasing, name-calling and harassing.  Then there’s relationship bullying, common with girls, like giving someone the ice-cold silent treatment or excluding them from a group, spreading rumors about them or forcing them to do something against their will. And finally, there’s cyber bullying on social media sites where using cruel words and images can hurt even more.

If your child has been bullied in any of these ways what should you do?  Teach them some survival skills and act fast.

Here are 20 things you can do to help your child defend themselves.

  • Always Talk to Your Child About Their Day

    When things are settled after school, ask open-ended questions of your child about their day. Dr. Pepler suggests questions like: ‘What was the best thing about your day? The worst? What did you do at recess?’ Pursue clues that suggest something may be wrong with child. They may say someone was mean to them or they had a fight with someone. Let your child know you’re glad she’s told you and that you’ll help.

  • Recognize Possible Signs of Bullying

    Clues that may indicate your child is being bullied are torn clothes, missing possessions, requests for extra lunch money, dropping grades, and refusing to go to school. Complaints of headaches or stomachaches may also be a sign of stress, as are bouts of insomnia or bed-wetting. Be vigilant, and while you should not jump to conclusions too quickly, if any of these signs persist, explore the situation further, and by all means, listen to what your gut is telling you.

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