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Self-Help Bully Advice

Written by John Riddle

How to stop bullies. Experts give advice on successfully "fighting" back.bullying abuse and what to do

Bullies have been around since the Stone Age. Despite prevention programs in many schools, bullying continues to be a problem for both children and their parents.

Bully Proofing your kids
Anti-bullying tips for parents
Did you know bullies have low self-esteem and low self control.
Teach your children to look in someone's eyes and talk positively.
Use Positive thinking. Bullies hone in on dread.
Listen to your kids. Look at them and hear what they have to say.
Tell school officials if your child is being bullied.
Listening to your children
Victims can be hit, humiliated and harassed to the point where they begin to have trouble coping with life. Educators are baffled, parents are angry, and children continue to suffer at the hands of their peers.

What makes a bully tick? According to Dr. Vincent Iannelli, a Dallas pediatrician, children who are bullies often have problems with low self-esteem. "They may also be bossy, controlling, have a low level of self-control, and have difficulty making friends."

And if bullies aren't stopped as children, they can grow up into adults who continue to have behavior problems. Studies show that people who were bullies as youngsters tend to grow up to have more arrests for spouse abuse, drunk driving and child abuse than the general population.

"A bully may often tease to be hostile, humorous or attention-seeking, or may use teasing as an inappropriate means to make an acquaintance," says Dr. Muriel S. Savikas, the director of California's Counseling and Mediation Institute. "It is an inevitable part of childhood for most children to have an occasional run-in with the school bully."

Although there is no one solution for dealing with bullies, experts offer this advice:

  • Role-play at home Have your child practice standing up straight, looking someone in the eye when speaking, and talking in a positive and steady voice.
  • Use positive thinking Bullies tune in to other children's sense of dread.
  • Teach children not to hit back Many experts believe that hitting will only escalate a bully's aggression. There are others, though, who counter that fighting back is sometimes appropriate. Consider enrolling your child in karate or some other defense-based martial arts class.
  • If a bully is bothering your child, you should alert school officials before it escalates. Telling your child to ignore it, or otherwise handle it themselves, is not recommended.
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    Ask your PTA if they have a bully prevention program. If not, have them get a copy of They Cage the Animals at Night, by Jennings Michael Burch, who travels the country promoting "No Bullying Week" at middle schools.


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