My child is being bullied at school, but he doesn't want me to step in. What can he do to stop the bullying?
We get it. The temptation is to rush in and help your child, but most kids don't want a parent to step in because they're humiliated and worried about retaliation. With that in mind, here are some things to discuss with your kid:
- Suggest that he spend his free time with his friends and not wander off alone. He should also stay in safe areas of the school, where there are plenty of other people around, during lunch and breaks.
- Walking to and from school with other kids—younger or older—can be helpful. If possible, have him vary his route.
- Look at your child's body language. Is he confident and powerful, or timid and worried? Teach him to carry his head high, shoulders back, chest out and walk like he owns the place. You may even consider martial-arts training, such as karate or judo, which can help children with their self-confidence.
- Teach your child how to use humor to defuse a situation, or to "out-crazy" the bully. For example, if the bully says, "Hey boy, you're ugly," your kid might respond in a couple of different ways: "Thanks for sharing," "Yes, I know, I always have been" or "Yes, today's lunch was disgusting." THEN WALK AWAY.
Each state has specific rules, regulations and procedures that many parents are not aware of. Research the district's guidelines on bullying, expectations for your school district and responsibilities of the school administrators. If your child is receiving threatening phone calls or emails, you need to step in and contact the police because it is considered harassment and that's a criminal offense.
Possibly the greatest way for you to help your child deal with bullies is to empower him to handle the situation on his own. Also, remember to let your child know he is not the problem, the bully is, and that he has the right to feel safe and secure at all times.