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Five Skills to Help Your Child Deal with Bullying

With the attention on bullying, awareness has grown.

The recent media attention on bullying in the United States has brought a greater awareness to parents, teachers, and mental health professional over the last couple of years. 

While schools continue to attempt to enforce a zero tolerance policy on bullying, this problem continues to persist. It is important to be aware of how this affects children, but we also need to equip them with the skills to deal with bullying effectively. 

Skill 1: Keep Them Involved

A bully’s goal is to make their victim feel alone and powerless. Children can feel empowered when they make and maintain connections with loyal friends and supportive adults. Helping to identify a teacher, social worker, etc., in the school can help your child have a “go to” person at school.

Skill 2: Awareness

Often times children refuse to tell adults about bullying because they are convinced “it won’t help.” Many times, bullying can occur when the adults are not aware of what is going on. Bully’s often look for unsupervised opportunities. Children are left feeling isolated and alone, which can perpetuate bullying even more. 

Skill 3: Act Quickly

The longer a bully has power over a victim, the stronger the hold becomes. Once the bully knows he has hooked you as his victim he will do it more. It is important to recognize the signs and tell an adult. Ignoring the behavior often is not the answer to bullying. Helping your child feel comfortable talking to you or an adult is important to act as quickly as possible. 

Skill 4: Respond Assertively

The more a bully thinks he can pick on a victim without a response, the more he will do it. Children who master the skills of assertiveness are comfortable in responding to the bully in a way that does not invite further abuse. Remember, passive responses invite further abuse.

Skill 5: Use Non Verbal Communication

When teaching your child the skills of assertive communication, it is helpful to practice using body language to reinforce words.

• Maintain eye contact

• Keep your voice calm and even

• Stand an appropriate distance from the bully

• Use the bully's name when speaking to him

www.stokescounseling.com

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.

Debbie Sherman April 18, 2012 at 12:16 PM
OHS Booster Club is having a health fair on May 5th from 10-3 if you are interested in attending. If you are interested, please let me know. http://ohsboosterclub.com
Michael Stokes April 18, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Thanks so much for the invitation! I am very interested in attending. I clicked the link and found the registration form. How much is the cost for attending? I can be reached at stokescounseling@live.com
Will Wilkin April 25, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Thanks Mr. Stokes for making the effort to get these insights into the public discussion!
Michael Stokes April 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Mr. Wilkin, this is such a common issue for those I see my practice. Children are afraid of saying something because "they don't want to make it worse." So sad.
JuliannaSmith May 07, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Bullying is not a rite of passage, it is abuse that must be stopped. That is why the best we can do parents to protect our children is that talk to them and as much as possible focus on them. Express your concern and make it clear that you want to help and empathize with your children. Say bullying is wrong, that it is not their fault, and that you are glad they had the courage to tell you about it. Reassure them that the situation can be handled privately. I would like to share this link, about a service on how you can protect your children. You might find it interesting: http://safekidzone.com/

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