How to handle a bully

Reports confirm that bullying is starting at younger ages and more frequent and aggressive than ever before. Bottom line: bullying behavior must be taking very seriously whether your child is the victim or the perpetrator.
Some kids do not tell their parents they're bullied. Here are some warning signs that a child may be bullied and needs your support.
-can't explain physical marks,cuts,bruises and torn clothing
-can't explain loss of toys, school supplies, lunches or money
-fears being left alone; doesn't want to go to school, wants you there at dismissal
-undergoes marked changes in typical behavior or personality
-has physical complaints: headaches, stomachaches, frequent visits to the school nurse's office
-has difficulty sleeping, nightmares, wet the bed
-waits to get home to use the bathroom
-experiences sudden and significant drop in grades

What to do?

-take your kids seriously. One of the biggest mistakes is not to take our kids seriously when they report bullying episodes. Reassure your child that you believe him for coming to you, and stress that you will find a way to keep him safe.
-determine if it's bullying: you might ask:"was it an accident, or did he hurt you on purpose?", " did he do it more than once?", " did you tell him to stop?".

If your child is unsure if this is really bullying, encourage him to talk with witness to get their take.
-gather facts so you can help your kid create a plan to stop the bullying:"what happened?", "who did this?","where were you?", how does it start?", "did anyone help you?"
-offer specific tips for a plan of action: most kids can't handle bullying on their own;they need your help, so provide a specific plan. For example, if bullying is happening on the bus, tell your kid to sit behind the bus driver on the left side of the bus.
-find an adult who can help your kid when you're not around: a secretary, teacher, school nurse, bus driver.
-tell your kid to stay calm and try not to let his tormentor know he upset him. Stress your child never to cry or to insult a bully
-teach your child how to say "no", "stop", " back off", "cut it out"
-stress that your child should leave the scene as soon as possible, ideally walk toward other kids or an adult.
-boost self-confidence:learning martial arts, boxing, sport.

Tune in more closely to your child. Please. Repeated bullying causes severe emotional harm and erodes your child's fragile self-esteem.

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