What to look for, how to deal with kids who bully

December 15, 2003|by

Health and safety experts say that preventing bullying among children requires more awareness and intervention among adults. Some signs to watch for and ways to help:

A child may be getting bullied if he:

  • returns from school with damaged or missing clothing, books or belongings.

  • has unexplained cuts, bruises or scratches.

  • has few, if any, friends.

  • appears afraid of going to school.

  • has lost interest in school work.

  • complains of headaches or stomach aches.

  • has trouble sleeping or has frequent nightmares.

  • appears sad, depressed or moody.

  • appears anxious or has poor self-esteem.

  • is quiet and passive.

Tips for parents in helping children deal with bullies:

  • Teach children to be assertive, rather than aggressive or violent, when confronted by a bully.

  • Instruct them to walk away and get help from an adult in more dangerous situations.

  • Practice various responses to bullying with your children through role-playing.

  • Encourage children to share information about school-related activities.

  • Inform school officials of bullying, and keep your own written records of names, dates and times of the incidents.

  • Respond to your children's concerns with patience and support.

Tips for children who witness bullying:

  • Enlist an adult immediately if someone is in danger of getting hurt.

  • Do not watch. If you cannot intervene, walk away.

  • Do not react emotionally with laughter, or even a nervous giggle or snicker.

  • Combat the rumor mill with the truth about a victim.

  • Offer support and friendship.

  • Report the incident, time and place to a teacher, counselor, school nurse or administrator.
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