What to Do about Bullying

When bullying behavior gets children what they want, they decide to keep bullying over and over again. They get better and better at insisting, manipulating, and overpowering until they are experts – so much so that they continue bullying even as adults.
How can you help children decide they don’t like what happens when they use bully
  • Think honestly about whether your child uses bully behavior. Does she order her friends around?  Threaten to not play, if friends don’t do as she says? Make fun of his friends?  Physically fight with others?
  • Make a rule that playtime is over when you see these behaviors. Start making
    sure these behaviors don’t payoff for your child when they are young.
  • Make sure you enforce the playtime rule in a matter-of-fact way. “I see that you are being mean and are scaring or hurting your friends, which is against our rule about playtime. Playtime is over. Tomorrow you can try again to play without being mean or too rough.”
How can you help children when they are faced with bullying?
  • Show your child you will protect him from bullying. If you see your child being bullied, step in and let the bully know you will not allow him (or her) to treat other children that way. Tell the bully to cease and desist. If any toys are involved, demand that the bully return them and repair them if they are damaged or else you will take more serious steps to protect your child.
  • If your child is older, you may need to negotiate with him about when and how much you should be directly involved in talking to the bully. He may prefer to handle things on his own. If this is the case, be sure to talk over a plan so you know that how your child is planning to stick up for himself will be safe.
  • Tell your child he can depend on adults to help him when he is being bullied. (For example, teachers, youth leaders, parents, neighbors, and other relatives.)