We want to raise children that do not stand for bullying and know the appropriate steps to protect themselves and others. Here are a few tips to address bullying with your child.
Create a Positive Foundation
- Talk about appropriate boundaries with your child. Teach how much personal space, what types of physical touch, and what types of language are appropriate for their peers.
- Teach your child empathy. Explore “if you were in their shoes” scenarios so your child understands the effects their actions have on peers.
- From an early age, introduce clear feelings words so your child has the tools to express the emotions they are feeling or even if they are feeling pain or discomfort in a specific area. This allows you to address the specific issue. Your child’s ability to articulate their feelings also empowers them to speak up to someone who might be bullying. Your child can communicate how the incident makes them feel.
- Build up your child’s confidence! Fill your child’s tank with compliments and teach your child all the things that are unique and wonderful about them! Self-confidence goes a long way toward combatting verbal bullying.
Create an action plan
- Establish trustworthy adults for your child to report bullying.
- Discuss possible scenarios. Help your child navigate what they might do or who they might talk to in each instance. Make sure to cover different types of bullying. If your child is older, be sure to include instances of cyberbullying in this discussion.
- “What if Avery says things that hurt your feelings?”
- “What if Taylor does not respect your physical space?”
- “What if Jamie excludes your friend?”
- Possible action steps might include:
- finding a trusted adult at the moment the incident occurs or reporting the incident after the fact
- moving to a safe place
- communicating your feelings
- using humor to diffuse the situation
- showing confidence and kindness
Check in with your child regularly and discuss specific concerns with your child’s teachers and pediatrician.