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Friday, February 6, 2009

It's your Child

It’s a terribly uncomfortable situation: a teacher or another parent calls you to tell you that your child has been bullying another student. What do you do? It can be difficult to explain the concepts of compassion and decency to children, but you want to instill a sense of right and wrong in your own child. So what do you do if your child is a bully?

What to Do If Your Child is a Bully: Talk it Out

Nothing will ever be solved if you simply ignore the problem and hope it goes away. Even if you don’t feel that your child has done anything wrong, you still need to start a dialogue with your child. Approach the subject from a non-threatening, conversational point of view and ask your child to explain the situation from his or her perspective.

What to Do If Your Child is a Bully: Ask Questions

One of the best ways to get through to your child about bullying is to ask lots of questions. Why does he or she feel the need to bully? Is there something he or she doesn’t like about the other child? Does he or she have friends that join in on the bullying? Then ask how your child would feel if he or she was the one being bullied. The old adage of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes never gets old.

What to Do If Your Child is a Bully: Request a Conference

Meet with your child and his or her teacher after school one day so that you can get all the answers. Although you would never want to think that your child might lie to you, there might be more to the story once you’ve sat down with another adult. Find out what exactly has been going on, and then discuss the conversation with your child afterward. If he or she lied or stretched the truth, begin the process all over again.

What to Do If Your Child is a Bully: Relate

If you were ever in a situation where you were a victim of a bully in school or if you were ever a bully yourself, talk about that with your child. Imparting your own experiences can put things into greater perspective, and you might be able to shake your child’s view on his or her peers. Explain that you know what it feels like to be bullied, and that you wouldn’t want anyone else to feel that way.

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