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Love and Logic Blog

Kids pointing and laughing at sad student in the hallway

How to Deal with Bullying - Dr. Charles Fay

 

Bullying hurts, and we want it to end right now. Despite this desire, the reality is that we all have only limited control over the world and how our children are treated by it. That’s why Love and Logic places a heavy emphasis on empowering children to become victors rather than victims.

Listed below are just a few specific recommendations for responding with compassion while helping our kids develop the skills required to protect themselves.

Rescue only when necessary.

We must rescue our children when they experience bullying so severe that it overwhelms their ability to cope physically or emotionally. That’s what good parents do.

Unnecessary rescuing creates weak kids who become more popular targets for bullies.

Listen.

When our children are hurting, the most important thing we can do is listen with empathy, allowing them to express their full range of emotions. This can become difficult when we, too, are flooded with feelings over the issue. Listening means making the conversation about our child’s feelings, not ours.

Isn’t it true that when we know how much other people care, it makes the struggles we are facing seem more manageable?

Empower them with the belief that they can cope.

Down deep, children feel empowered when we ask, “What do you think you might do to solve this problem?” While they may lack answers to this question, asking it demonstrates that we believe in their abilities.

Give them some practical experiments.

Learning to deal effectively with bullies hinges on our child’s ability to remain calm, or even use a bit of humor, when the bully tries to upset or provoke them.

People who learn how to handle bullying when they are kids, learn how to handle the bullies they will occasionally encounter as adults.

 

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