How to Teach Your Child to Stand Up Against a Bully - Back to School Tips for Parents

By Lisa Franchi on September 07, 2012

Summer holiday is over and this week, everything’s going back to normal for mums and their kids. While many kids are very excited to meet their old friends and meet new ones, others are more excited to look for their bullying victims.

Bullying is a major problem

Bullying has always been a major problem in schools and one of the worst worries of parents. At the beginning of school year, bullies will be looking for their victims and typically, they will look after those who are small, aloof and look powerless. If you think your child is a potential victim of bullying, it’s time that you teach him how to stand up without having to raise a fist.

Contrary to what many parents believe, ignoring a bully is not the best way to stop his undesirable behaviour. All bullying starts from simple teasing or minor physical aggression but the moment the bully figures out that his victim couldn’t stand on his own, the bullying continues.

You need not teach your kid some karate techniques to counteract the bully. The most effective defence against bullying are the so called assertive responses. Today, spare a moment with your kid and tell him how to look and sound assertive and powerful.

Tips to Counteract a Bully

Show strength

Showing strength doesn’t always mean clenching teeth and flexing muscles, ready to fight anytime. Explain to your child what inner strength means. It is shown by speaking with an even and confident voice. He should stand in an appropriate distance from the bully, and look him in the eye, showing no sign of fear. Yes, making eye contact is among the best strategies to fight back a bully.

Find someone who can help

The bully’s main goal is to make your child feel powerless and alone. Tell your child to tell it to an adult, say a teacher or the guidance counsellor, and seek help whenever necessary. For most kids who are always bullied, this can be difficult because they feel more helpless. But you have to let your child understand that a trustworthy adult could help him become free from bullying. If he the bully doesn’t stop after your child has shown strength, the next step would be to consult an adult who can help.

Become assertive

A child who is bullied finds it hard to respond appropriately. But by teaching him some assertive phrases, you can help your kid handle the situation. In the book Friendship & Other Weapons, Signe Whitson gave some assertive phrases that children can use to show they don’t want to be bullied and don’t want to become a bully. Examples are “Friends don’t treat each other that way”, “Cut it out”, “I don’t want to be treated that way”, “I like the way I look”, “Stop it”, and so on.

Being in school could a scary encounter for every child. But with your guidance and never-ending support, every day in school is a fun and enlightening experience.

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