Did you know that 25% of public schools report that bullying among kids happens on a daily or weekly basis? And that 1 in 5 high school students report being bullied in the past year?
The good news is that because bullying has made national headlines, schools and communities (and even celebrities) are taking a strong stand against bullying.
You can do your part at home, too. Here are 5 smart strategies to keep kids from becoming targets - and stop bullying that has already started. Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Talk about it. Talk about bullying with your kids and have other family members share their experiences. If one of your kids opens up about being bullied, praise him or her for being brave enough to discuss it, and offer unconditional support. Consult with the school to learn its policies and find out how staff and teachers can address the situation.
Remove the bait. If it's lunch money or gadgets that the school bully is after, you can help neutralize the situation by encouraging your child to pack a lunch or go to school gadget-free. If the bully chooses something else to go after, then you know the bully is after your child, NOT the 'bait'. It's time to address the issue with the school.
Buddy up for safety. Two or more friends standing at their lockers are less likely to be picked on than a child who is all alone. Remind your child to use the buddy system when on the school bus, and in the bathroom.
Keep calm and carry on. If a bully strikes, a kid's best defense may be to remain calm, ignore hurtful remarks, tell the bully to stop, and simply walk away. Bullies thrive on hurting others. A child who isn't easily ruffled has a better chance of staying off a bully's radar. But remember, after the bully has been warned off, asked to stop, and attempts to walk away do not work, you must let a trusted adult, such as teacher, parent, counselor, coach, or school administrator know.
Don't try to fight the battle yourself. Sometimes talking to a bully's parents can be constructive, but it's generally best to do so in a setting where a school official, such as a counselor, can mediate.
Suggest an anti-bully demonstration at your school by Gracie Gym staff and students. The confidence in which they handle the situation will be very clear in the demonstration, and inspire others to action as well.
For real confidence and safety, an ongoing self-defense program is a choice of many parents. Although it may be easiest for parents to tell kids to ignore the bully, walk away or tell a teacher, that is not always the safest, easiest thing for a child to do. Kids don't want to be in fear of school, or other kids. Parents want to make sure their kids are safe. This is often a have/need choice. Kids and parents would rather have their kids know self-defense skills and not need them, than to not have the skills and need them.