Helping Kids Deal With A School Bully

How serious is it when a child is being picked on at school?


National surveys indicate that one child in 10 is regularly attacked either verbally or physically by bullies. A recent article in the Roundup reminds us that the seeds of violence are often planted by students who bully other students.

In our society, we can no longer consider bullying as a "kids will be kids" problem.

Bullying has become a serious form of harassment in many schools with sometimes deadly consequences.

According to the National Parent Teacher Association, one of the best ways a parent or grandparent can safeguard their children from becoming victims of a bully is to teach them how to be assertive.

This involves encouraging your children to express their feelings clearly, to say no when they feel pressured and to stand up for themselves verbally without fighting. Bullies are less likely to intimidate children who are confident and resourceful.

Here are more tips to deal with bullies:

• Teach children to steer clear of youths who display bullying behavior.

• Teach children to walk away and get help from an adult in more dangerous situations.

• Keep communication lines open with your children. Encourage them to share information about school and school-related activities.

• Pay attention to the following symptoms that may indicate your child is being bullied:

withdrawal, abrupt lack of interest in school, a drop in grades or signs of physical abuse.

• If your child is a victim of bullying at school, inform school officials immediately. Keep your own written records of the names, dates, times and circumstances of bullying incidents. Submit a copy of this report to the school principal.

Above all, a child wants to be accepted and feel valued. Bullies attack both these essential needs.

Respond to your children's concerns and fears with patience, love and support.

We have only one chance to give our children and grandchildren a healthy childhood -- nobody, and no bully, should be allowed to take that away from them.

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