The worst thing you could hear from our school aged child is that they are being bullied.  No one should ever feel scared to go to school, but unfortunately this happens all the time.  Bullies are a fact of life, and they don’t stop in the school yard.  Even as adults we meet people who attempt to bully us, just in less violent ways. 

The key to dealing with bullies is understanding them.  Bullies often feel powerless and therefore try to pick on kids who they deem easy to control. 

What do you do when your child is being bullied? You can start by talking to their teacher and bring the problem to their attention.  Sadly, teachers aren’t always able to intervene and shouldn’t be your last tactic. 

Teach your child to say loudly, firmly, and with as much authority that they have to stop.  Make sure they know to say it loud enough for others to hear.  You can rehearse this at home to give your child the confidence to know what to say and when.  If that doesn’t work (and sadly it often doesn’t) teach your child to walk away and find an adult if necessary. 

If all of this doesn’t work, try enrolling your child into a self defense class.  Self defense classes not only teach kids how to defend themselves, but how to respect their fighting abilities.  They learn when to and not to use them.  Your child should never be left feeling like they cannot defend themselves. 

If you’re not comfortable with that talking with the bully’s parents or switching classes can be an answer…only until the next bully comes along.  The goal is to teach your child to cope with and have the confidence to deal with all bullies at any age. 

-Stephanie Wright

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