Helping Our Kids Handle Bullies Jen and John Speak

Helping Our Kids Handle Bullies

Recently, one of my children experienced an episode of bullying. It was minor and my child handled it, but we felt it was important for the teacher to know (she wasn’t present at the time) so that no one got hurt if it happened again. So we sent in a note.

What surprised me was how seriously the school took it. Both children were called down to the principal (separately) to discuss the incident, the teacher called us, and the school actually had to prepare a report. Apparently there is a lot of legislation in our state now related to bullying, and how schools are expected to handle it.

And I have to say I’m glad to see it. As a child, I dealt with a lot of bullying. I didn’t have the world’s best social skills, and as a result, there were times I was tormented by the other kids. My mother would try to get the school to do something, but at the end of the day it continued. I finally just sucked it up, because there wasn’t a lot that could be done.

And yet my kids are growing up in a different world. At Back to School Night, I saw posters in every classroom that talked about bullying, what it is, and the rules against it. I know they talk about it in their classes as a group, to make sure no one experiences it, and if they do, what they should do about it. Kids in our school district fully understand what a bully is, and they know they have protection. What confidence this can give our kids!

We’ve also taught our kids at home how to defend themselves. They know that the first thing they should do is to get out of the situation if they can, handle it with their words, and tell a teacher. But if someone is physically doing something to them, they know how to protect themselves. We practice at home.

And we also talk about why the bully might be acting that way. Perhaps something is unhappy at home. Perhaps they don’t know how to make friends except to be physical. We encourage our kids to extend a hand of friendship when it’s possible. It might just change the bully.

Can we fully protect them forever from others who may be mean to them? Of course not. But we can make them aware of the behaviors that constitute bullying, so they know it when they see it. They’ll know what to do to get themselves out of the situation, because they’re being taught about it. And my kids also know how to step up and help other kids who may find themselves in bullying situations. We’ve taught them this at home, and they’re learning it in school.

It makes the playground a happier place for all kids.

How does your school handle bullying? What do you do to teach your kids about bullying at home? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments.