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Dealing with bullies

Author: George Stillwell
Published: Jul 5 2006Many children have problems with bullies. They take many forms. There are bullies who use their physical presence to intimidate. There are bullies who use their words to intimidate. Either way, we as parents want to protect our children from bullies. What causes bullies: By and large, bullies are children who lack self esteem and suffer from insecurity. They get their validation, boost their ego, by preying on other children whom they perceive to be vulnerable. As parents, our main concern is how to protect our children from bullies. Below are some suggestions that have proven successful over the years. 1. Teach them not to react - At the core, bullies say and do what they do to illicit a reaction from their 'victims'. The first and best way to counteract a bully is to ignore him. Teach your children that if a bully gets in his face, to smile or laugh and walk away. When doing so, walking towards a teacher or other adult. 2. Teach them to talk with adults - If your children are being bullied, help them understand that it not only affects them, but affects all of the children who go to school with them. Help them to understand that bullying is not tolerated at their school and that their teachers and administrators would want to know if there is a student who is bullying others. 3. Teach them to defend others ? Teach your children to notice when other kids being bullied and to stand up for them. Often times, all it takes to stop a bully is to have other children get involved and show that they will stand with the ?victim?. 4. Teach them to fight back if attacked physically ? Teach your children that it is always right for them to defend themselves. If another child attacks them physically, they should defend themselves by fighting back. If they have friends around, their friends should get involved to help defend them. Their physical response should be proportional to what was done to them. Once the bully has backed down, they should stop. 5. Consider keeping you kids back from Kindergarten ? One very positive outcome of keeping your kids back a year from Kindergarten is that they are older than most of their classmates. This is especially important for boys but is also helpful for girls. They will be bigger physically and more mature than their peers which can have a significant impact on whether they become the object of bullying. This should not be the only criteria considered in keeping you kids back, but should be a consideration. 6. Teach them to talk to you about Cyber bullying ? One of the latest trends in bullying is for it to happen over the internet or via instant messaging. Teach your kids to talk with you when they see messages they find rude or intimidating. You can help them respond effectively, or get involved to provide feedback to parents and teachers about what the other child is doing. 7. Enroll your kids in martial arts ? One of the best things you can do for your kids is to enroll them in a martial arts course. These courses teach self defense that is highly effective, but they also instill a huge amount of self confidence and self control that can be effective when dealing with bullies. Sometimes, just knowing that your child is taking Tae Kwon Do or Karate is enough to take them off the list of potential targets from bullies. 8. Keep your kids from becoming a bully - Talk frequently to your children about the importance of the goldren rule: treating others as they would like to be treated. If you find that your child apprears to be getting a sense of satisfaction by putting others down, register your disappointment, use punishment if it continues and if necessary, get them into counseling if you cannot correct it. If you use these strategies, you will very likely see your child become less and less of a target for bullies which can reduce the stress level for everyone and ultimately protect your children. (excerpted from

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