Children as young as five can start jockeying for social power, and some may even begin to inflict cruelty on other children.
Young people who are victims of bullies respond in various ways. Some may talk about the torment they are receiving. Others may just come home and fall apart. They might cry or throw tantrums for no apparent reason.
If you know that your child is being bullied, talk to the principal or school counselor as soon as possible.
Describe in detail what is happening and how often. Let school officials explain the steps they will take to promote a healthy learning environment and keep your child safe.
At home, help empower your child by letting her know you believe she can handle social situations.
Help her find the right words to say, like “You can’t do that to me,” or “You need to stay away from me.” Practice role-playing to help prepare your child and build his courage.
Bullies seem less likely to pick on children who have friends, so encourage your child’s friendships.
Host “play dates” and help your child find extracurricular activities. Having friends in other places, outside of school, can build confidence.
A child who feels successful socially will be able to see that it’s the bully’s problem, not hers.
In fact, a child who feels more secure and less vulnerable is less likely to be picked on, so work hard to reinforce those traits.