Teaching Children How to Ward Off Bullies

The American Psychological Association’s definition of bullying includes the use of “aggressive behavior intended to cause distress or harm.” It can take on many forms, including teasing, name-calling, exclusion from a social group or activity, bullying regarding one’s identity (e.g. race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.), cyberbullying, as well as physical bullying.

The research on bullying shows that boys tend to report being physically bullied more than girls, while girls report social bullying (e.g. rumor spreading, etc.) more than boys. Either way, it is not specified to one social group and in fact, occurs across settings, as well as racial, religious and economic divides. About two-thirds of all secondary school students report experiencing bullying at some point.

The effect of bullying is vast; school avoidance, lowered self-esteem, increased rates of depression, anxiety, feelings of loneliness and thoughts of suicide. Bullying events continue to be linked to the occurence of several young people’s suicides globally.

Encourage your children to go to you, or to another trusted adult if they are ever being harassed or hurt by others. Ensure that they know adults are better equipped to deal with such problems. Listen to your child. If they are saying something’s happening in their life, more likely than not, it is and they are being affected. In handling the situation yourself, remain composed, mature and responsible, as you also want to be a model for your child on handling difficult situations.

Let children know that telling adults is not tattling and it is, in fact, the right thing to do! Fighting violence with violence won’t solve the problem. While children may be required to defend themself in the moment they are being bullied, once safe, they should tell an adult.

Remember the buddy-system, where you were paired with someone else in your class and told to look out for each other on field trips and other class activities? Similarly, children should be encouraged to develop and maintain friendships where each child looks out for the others. Bullies are less likely to target groups.

If it’s safe to do so, a child can stand up to a bully by telling them, in a calm voice to stop what they are doing and then walk away from the situation. By remaining calm, it will throw off the bully, whose main goal is to elicit an emotional response from the victim.

Kid Friendly Alert: Stop Bullying Now! A website for children and parents, courtesy U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Includes animated short webisodes, games and advice.

Caregivers should ask their children’s schools to conduct comprehensive, school-wide bullying prevention programs, which have been shown, through research, to significantly reduce incidences of bullying. Some mental health, as well as law inforcement professionals are equipped with knowledge to carrying out such programs.

Read More: American Academy of Pediatrics: How can we help our child avoid being bullied?
Bullying: A Module for Teachers
Bullying: What Parents, Teachers Can Do To Stop It

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About Traci S. Williams-Nurse

Dr. Traci Williams-Nurse is a licensed psychologist who specialized in child, adolescent and family psychology. Her interests include child development, family functioning, video games and food. She was born and raised in Trinidad & Tobago and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
This entry was posted in Bullying, Friends, Racism, Religion, School, Social Skills, Violence and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Teaching Children How to Ward Off Bullies

  1. Quinn Smith says:

    All schools are likely to have some problem with bullying at one time or another. It is important that your child’s school takes steps to reduce and prevent bullying. Parents and families have an important part to play in helping schools deal with bullying. Parents can protect and support their children through such a difficult situation by recognizing the signs of bullying or victimization as soon as possible. I would like to share this link, about a service on how to protect children. Check this link, and you might find it interesting: https://safekidzone.com/

  2. Pingback: Scary Hallways and Chatrooms- Defining Bullying | Child Space

  3. Pingback: Scary Hallways and Chatrooms- Defining Bullying | Child Space | hotclubchatrooms.net

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