Help your child deal with bullying

February 16, 2017

Whether they're still young enough for the swing set or old enough for social media, kids need love iStock-509552564.jpgand support to help them stand up to bullying.

If you think your child is being bullied at school or online, here's how to help:

Recognize it. While bullying has many forms, it generally involves being picked on over and over again. Examples of this aggressive, unwanted behavior can include taunting, teasing or shoving; purposefully leaving a child out of friendship circles; or saying things that embarrass a child.

Teach your child to seek help. Children need to know they can ask an adult, such as a teacher or playground aide, for help. It may help to remind your child that bullying is never OK-and he or she is not at fault.

Tell the school. If the bullying is occurring at school or on the bus, make sure the staff knows so that they can help.

Practice what to do and say. Teach your child what to do when someone is bullying him or her. Here are some ways experts say kids might respond:

  • Look the bully in the eye and calmly walk away.
  • Say something like "I don't like what you're doing" or "Please do not talk to me like that."

If the bullying is occurring online-through social media sites, for example-or through text messages, tell your child not to respond and to block the person who is doing the bullying. Also, report the bullying to the service provider. If the threats are violent or sexually implicit, report the bully to law enforcement.

Help your child pursue a passion. Is your son or daughter into sports or music? Or academic groups or social clubs? When children are involved in school or community activities, they gain positive experiences and are less likely to be bullied.

You can learn more at www.stopbullying.gov, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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