Tips to Help Your Child Stand Up to Bullying

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You've heard the horror stories of children being bullied in school, in cyberspace, on the playground. Sometimes bullying can even lead to suicide as shown in the documentary film “Bully,” which was released earlier this year.  The stats are alarming: nearly one-third of all school-aged children are bullied each year - upwards of 13 million students, according to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. October 2012 marked the seventh anniversary of the center’s National Bullying Prevention Month.

Children are bullied and experience a lack of self-esteem and confidence while at home, and some are even scared to attend school for fear of encountering a bully.  But parents should not feel helpless. There are things they can do to help their kids stand up to bullying.

Get kids physically and emotionally fit

It’s not enough to tell children, ‘You’re beautiful. You’re great.’ Teach them that they have to do some work to earn that praise. Children who are physically fit are not going to get picked on as often as out of shape kids. Children who play a sport are less likely to be bullied.  Sign them up for a sport at an early age. It’s the kids who go to school and directly home where they sit in front of the computer for hours who are more vulnerable.

If your child is overweight, there is a good chance he or she is going to be bullied.  Get them out of the house and involved in some sort of physical activity. Not only will your child become healthier, but it will also put them in a structured environment where they will interact with other kids.

Teach kids to stand up for themselves

This does not mean teach them how to throw punches. Parents should tell their children to report bullying to a teacher, coach or someone in authority. Administrators are more likely to take a child’s word than a parents. Generally, when parents try to explain what’s happening to their child, a lot gets lost in translation and many administrators feel parents exaggerate situations. This is a great lesson for kids to learn how to speak up and think and act for themselves. If they don’t, the bullying will continue.

Get involved if the situation does not improve, and follow up to make sure it is being addressed adequately.  If it is not, don’t hesitate to get aggressive – contact the local newspaper, hire an attorney, go to the police.  Too many parents are intimidated by administrators.

Talk to your kids

Warn them about bullies just as you would sexual predators. And pay attention. If you see a bruise on your child or they are acting strange, ask them about it. A lot of bullied children become introverted, which is why you need to establish good communication at an early age. You want your child to feel comfortable talking to you about what is going on.

Recognize bullying

Bullying is when someone is demeaning your child on a consistent basis. If it happens at least three or four times, you have an issue.  Kids tease each other. That’s part of their mentality, but children don’t usually complain unless it’s severe and happening regularly.

Monitor your child on social media sites

A lot of kids will say, ‘This is an invasion of my privacy,’ but you should be monitoring their social media sites. Parents need to understand and learn about the subculture surrounding Facebook.  You have to be able to follow the conversations kids are having with each other. If you see your child being bullied online, remove the bully from their friend list and ask questions: ‘What is happening here? Why are you letting this person talk to you like this?’

Not only can children become victims of cyber bullying, but they can also post something that could be detrimental to them down the road.

Build your child’s self-esteem

Kid’s with high self-esteem are less likely to be affected by bullying.  Make sure your child is themselves and not letting people mistreat them or put them down. It’s all about building self-esteem. Many children lack confidence and suffer in silence. Get them to feel good enough about themselves so they will speak up.

Resources for parents:

 

Tony Sparber is the founder/owner of two New Image Camps: Camp Pocono Trails, PA and Camp Vanguard, FL. New Image Camps are designed to provide the most comprehensive summer weight-loss program for pre-teens and teenagers in the country. Camp Pocono Trails has been featured on two MTV documentaries, "Fat Camp" and "Return to Fat Camp," as well as on Ruby, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, The Today Show, and in the pages of People Magazine, and The New York Times, among others. For additional information call 1-800-365-0556 or visit newimagecamp.com.

I'm a former 7th grade Science teacher turned stay-at-home mom that lives in Houston, Texas. I am married to my college sweetheart and have a beautiful daughter named Riley, who definitely keeps me on my toes! I am also involved in starting a small business which would both manufacture and sell an invention that I've patented, called Toothpaste 2 Go. I love interacting with my readers and hope to learn as much about you as you learn about me!

Melissa
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8 Responses to Tips to Help Your Child Stand Up to Bullying

    Scarlet Says:

    1

    I hope I never need this information but my five year old has already had some very mild bullying.

    Cynthia Says:

    3

    This is a great article. Our child was the target of a bully to the point where we needed to change schools. I will tell you that it was a damaging experience that we are still seeking counseling to help her. You gave some great tips and parents really need to listen. In our case, it was not because of any of the issues that you mentioned, she was just a really confused child with a disability and a really rough upbringing from very agressive parents. The funny thing is when things were going okay at home, she was really sweet, when things were rough, my child received her wrath. We still run into her and she ask me why did I take her best friend away. Bullying happens everywhere. We thought putting our child in an over priced Catholic prep-school would shield her and it did the opposite. Thank you for sharing this. Parent, you need to retweet and listen to this message.

    Cynthia

      Melissa Says:

      4

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experience, Cynthia. I really appreciate it! You’re so right about bullying happening everywhere, which is truly sad. I guess the best line of defense we can take is teaching our children to stick up for themselves as best they can and to get involved as parents when we see things going on that shouldn’t be. Honestly, I don’t remember bullying being this bad when I was a kid…it seems to have reached epidemic proportions now.

      I wish your child all the best and hope that eventually they will be able to heal from these traumatic experiences.

    Gina Jacobs Thomas ( Says:

    5

    Some great advice here! My son is on the small side, and has a very strong will to please and be liked. So he tends to get some mild bullying even at the early age of 6. Things like being pushed around “as a joke”. We’ve tried to let him know that he’s not being mean by standing up for himself. Such a hard thing to teach at this age!

      Melissa Says:

      6

      You’re so right, Gina! I was shocked to see that bullying occurs at such young ages like this too. My daughter already had to be moved to a different table in her preschool class because a little boy just wouldn’t leave her alone and was constantly bullying her. Riley’s only 4! We’ve been busy teaching her to stand up for herself too…she’s quick to defend herself directly to the bully, but for some reason, she doesn’t ever want to tell her teacher or any other grownup there at school what’s happening. That’s what we’re busy trying to work on.

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