Nobody likes a bully, especially children. Unfortunately, bullies are everywhere. It is important that you teach your school-age children how to protect themselves should they ever be harassed by a bully.
Keep in mind that when you talk to your younger children about bullies, they may state they would not be able to recognize one. This is simply the naivete of children speaking. When they come into the presence of a bully, they will know it. (Their older siblings can attest to this fact!)
The following are tips that a child of any age can use to deal with a bully.
- Children should be taught to ignore a bully if at all possible.
- If the bully refuses to be ignored, you should tell your child to try to talk to the bully in a friendly manner. Tell your child to ask the bully questions that will distract his or her attention onto something else. If your child is quick-witted and funny, tell him or her to joke around with the bully. During this stage, tell your child to talk to a bully in a non-confrontational manner, as if the bully were his or her friend.
- Your child may find that trying to communicate and get along with the bully is unsuccessful. If this is the case, instruct your child to simply walk away from the bully. It is important that children are educated about bullying and the fact that they should never run away from a bully. This will only encourage the bully. Tell your children to calmly walk away without letting the bully see their fear.
- Once your child walks away, if your child sees that the bully is following behind and still trying to be intimidating, instruct your child to keep walking. Your child should tell the bully in a calm voice that he or she will not be harassed.
- At this stage, your child should be taught to seek out a grown-up or an authority figure. Many children shy away from telling an adult because they feel it makes them a "tattletale." Many children do not come forward and tell of the bullying they are receiving because they are embarrassed and they may feel it makes them appear weak or "uncool." Teach your children that it is never wrong or "uncool" to protect themselves.
- Open up the lines of communication with your children. Encourage them to come tell you if they are being bullied.
- If your child does come and tell you he or she is the victim of a bully, promptly notify your child's teacher, club leader, coach or whoever is in authority where your child is being bullied. Tell him or her that you expect the situation to be resolved. If it is not, go over their head and follow the chain of command until the bullying stops.