According to the Today Show, 83% of children report being targeted by a bully, and 25% are bullying victims on a daily or weekly basis. Unfortunately, kids are often bullied over things that are out of their control, and that can include something as benign as having one parent. Therefore, as parents, we have to take a proactive approach and teach our kids from an early age how to cope with bullying when it happens to them.
What is Bullying?
Essentially, bullying is any action intended to intimidate another person. Sometimes this may come in the form of dirty looks, teasing, spreading rumors, or online bullying.
What Makes My Child a Target for Bullying?
It often appear that kids who are "different" are targeted for bullying. Sometimes it's a child's appearance, behavior, or financial or family situation that others perceive as "different." However, there are plenty of kids who are different or who stand out, for whatever reason, who don't get teased or bullied. What makes one child a target and another child left alone really has more to do with how the bullied child reacts. When kids let on that they're bothered, they inadvertently give the bully exactly what he wanted, and the bullying continues.
How Can I Help My Child Stand Up to Bullying?Start at an early age. When my kids were toddlers, and another child at the park would throw sand or bother them, I encouraged them to speak up for themselves and say, "Hey, don't throw sand at me!" As kids get older, they need more advanced strategies, such as:
- Ignoring the bully
- Laughing it off
- Practicing what to say to the bully, if anything
- Removing themselves from the situation
- Knowing when and how to ask an adult for help
"Dad, Daughter in Tears About Bulling on Bus." Today Show. NBC, Oct. 2010. Web. 9 Oct. 2010. <http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/39497160%2339497160#39497160>.