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When You Discover Your Child Is A Bully, Target or Bystander

Although you may do your best to innoculate your child against bullying, it is still possible for any child to become a bully, target or bystander. What should you do if this happens?

Your child may be a bully...

Any child can become a bully. No matter how nice or friendly he or she is in some situations, it is possible for a child to become a bully in other situations. If you discover that your child is a bully...

  • Don’t be in denial, the sooner you help your child, the better her chance for changing.
  • Help your child to acknowledge his actions without being punitive, confrontational or accusatory.
  • Discuss how her behavior will negatively affect others and herself.
  • Explain that there will be consequences for bullying, nlike losing privileges
  • A bully can become a target at any point, so spend time talking to your child about how he feels.
  • Help your child learn positive leadership skills in order to feel personal power and status without victimizing others. Enlist school to help you with this.
  • Engage the school counselor and, if necessary, outside help to support your child.

Your child may be a target...

No matter how popular, sweet, or smart a child is, he or she could become the target of a bully at some point.

  • If the bullying occurs in school, DO NOT speak to parents or to the bully directly. Instead, meet with school officials.
  • Document each episode and report every episode to the school.Enlist the help of a school counselor to and give your child a safe haven.
  • Tell your child to report physical bullying to the school nurse.
  • Remind your child that telling adults make it better, NOT worse.
  • Give your child strategies for avoiding a bully—stay with friends, avoid walking alone, block her online.
  • Remind your child that bullies want to see a reaction so he should stay calm, walk away, resist yelling/crying.
  • Reinforce that you will work to stop the bullying as soon as possible.
  • In most cases, kids need help when they are bullied, even if they tell you not to do anything about it. Allowing a child to handle bullying alone puts him at risk for anxiety and depression.
  • Teach your child to project confidence—eyes up and no slouching, fidgeting or looking at your feet. Role-play this with your child.
  • If necessary, seek outside help to help your child cope and to change the way he behaves toward the bully.
  • If bullying happens outside school, speak to the parents, block the child online and if it is serious case, speak to the police.

Your child may be a bystander to bullying...

Most children become bystanders because they are afraid that if they step in or tell an adult, they might become the target. Bystanders that don't step in might encourage the bully to continue. Bystanders that DO something can have a very powerful impact on stopping the bullying. Any child can become a bystander and all kids can learn how to be a part of the solution. If you think that your child may be a bystander...

  • Be clear that you DON’T want your child to stand by and watch someone being bullied
  • Reinorcre that she MUST not join in the bullying no matter what!
  • Encourage your child to take action like telling the bully to stop, telling an adult, or supporting the target)
  • Tell your child to think for himself, regardless of what the group is doing reinforce this often and role-model it yourself.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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