Bully Proof Your Kids

We know a lot of kids are off for Fall Break and this might be a great time to sit down with your child during this time and bully proof your child.

You may not realize this, but the nation's first anti-bullying law is going into effect in New Jersey this fall.

So what can you do as a parent to bully proof you child?

Joel Haber, an expert in bullying and author of Bullyproof Your Child For Life offers some great tips.

First of all Joel says talk with your kids often.

Also, be sure that you’re not raising a victim, Haber said. Parenting in an overly disciplinarian way may make a child feel powerless, and can set him up for being a target of a bully.

Don’t ever say things that make kids feel powerless and small, such as “Do what I say or else;” “If you don’t listen, you’ll be grounded forever” or “If you do that again, I’ll embarrass you “.

 

If your child is the target of a bully, there are several steps you need to take if your child describes being bullied.

• First empathize. Tell your child that it’s not his or her fault and that you know it’s tough to be bullied.  Share a story of when you were bullied if it applies, tell him or her you’re proud of them for telling you, but don’t get melodramatic or overreact (he or she is probably already upset about it).

• Write down everything that has happened so that if you do call the school, you can present objective data rather than an emotional argument.

• Make a plan, but don’t take over. Brainstorm with your child about what to do. Assure her that you’re not going to deal with it in a way that will make it more embarrassing.

• If it’s a small incident, you don’t necessarily have to tell the school. But if it’s affecting your child’s ability to feel safe, then tell the school, and make sure the complaint is kept confidential. Some schools now have bullying prevention specialists.

• Don’t tell your child to hit the kid back. That can make a bully more aggressive and it makes the victim part of the problem. Try to get your child to use non aggressive strategies to handle it.