How to Communicate to a Bullied Child

Bullying is in the spotlight today a lot more than in past decades and, in general, this is a positive development. By giving this issue the attention it deserves, we parents and caregivers are better equipped to prevent or stop it from occurring.

In another article, we'll discuss how to talk with a child who is doing the bullying, but it is also important to empower the child being bullied. Here are just a few things you can do to help:

  • Increase the child's understanding of what constitutes bullying. In order to report bullies or stand up to them, children first need to know how to identify it.
     
  • Encourage them to report bullying to an adult. There is no shame in telling an adult when bullying is occurring-in fact, it is the smart and brave thing to do!
     
  • Give them the words to stand up to bullies. Children should recognize that they do not need to give in to bullies. Role play with them how they can handle bullying situations-using a loud, clear "no" or "stop"; diffusing a situation with humor; or walking away if words are not effective.
     
  • Stop the cycle. Remind children that bullying others does not make you powerful, but weak. Praise children for their efforts to protect others from bullying and for resisting bullying others.

Remember to keep the lines of communication between you and the child in your care open. That way, if there is bullying to report, they will know they can trust you to help. For more ideas on how to prevent and stop bullying, visit stopbullying.gov

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