Help Your Child Beat Bullying

Parents play a larger role in helping their children beat bullying than they might think. While of course teachers and school administrators must typically become involved and are likely to know of bullying incidents before parents, moms and dads can do plenty to help kids deal with and even avoid episodes of bullying.

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Look for Signs

Before you can help your child beat bullying, you need to know that they are being bullied. Some kids, though, may not readily approach their parents with this information. So how can you help them unless you're aware of the situation?

Recognize the signs of bullying. Does your child have any injuries? Are clothes or any other personal items damaged? Do they suddenly dislike going to school and try to avoid doing so? Has there been a noticeable change in your child's schoolwork? Slipping grades, for example, could be indicative of bullying problems.

Other, deeper signs may also be observed. Personality changes can occur as a result of excessive bullying. Is your child more withdrawn or isolated? Does he or she seem depressed or angry, or appear nervous or anxious? Has the child lost interest in things he or she used to enjoy? While personality and emotional changes are not always the result of bullying, you should consider this possibility if you notice any type of odd or uncommon behavior in your child.

Offer Your Support

First and foremost, your child should know that they can always come to you if they are being bullied. They should never feel ashamed or at fault in any way.

Try to make them understand what bullying is and possible reasons why some kids engage in such behavior. If you happen to have been a bullying victim as a child, tell your son or daughter what happened to you. If you don't have any personal stories, use the stories of others who have been bullied. It might help them to know that some stars including Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus and Rebecca Black have endured bullying in the past.

Direct them to sites such as Beatbullying.org or Bullyaware.org for ways in which they can deal with bullies as well as stories from other bullying victims. Making them feel as if they are not alone can be helpful.

Work with your child to develop a plan to stop the bullying and make sure they stick with that plan. For instance, if walking away is your child's option then teach them ways they can ignore the bully and control their own anger or other reactions.

Bullies Have Parents, Too

What if you are a parent whose child is not a victim but rather the bully himself (or herself)?

You can still step in to help in this situation. In some ways it can be more difficult to confront this behavior, but with the right approach you could get to the heart of the matter. Remember to refrain from being judgmental or angry before you confront your child.

When you do, arrange for a time when there is little chance for distractions. Let them know right from the start that you are committed to getting them help and that you will support them regardless of their disagreeable actions.

Avoid referring to them as a 'bully'. The word has obvious negative connotations, not the least of which is 'bad'. According to Beatbullying.org, if your child believes he or she is 'bad' they may feel as if they cannot change the way they are acting. It is best, the site says, to label their actions as bad and not make them feel as if they are bad people.

Finally, you should utilize resources your child's school provides to get your son or daughter the help they need to control their behavior.

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