Is your child complaining about being bullied? Teased? Picked on? Or Gossiped about? Conflict with others is an inevitable part of life. However, we can teach our children how best to handle these uncomfortable situations. Our children need the coping skills to deal with verbal aggression.
How can you help as a parent?
Teach your child to avoid peers who are bothering him/her:
● Tell Lucy that it is okay to walk away from an angry classmate.
● Explain to Tom that walking away can be a sign of strength, not weakness
Explain to Tom or Lucy that the peer who is unkind is the child with a problem:
● The bully may be the one who is unhappy, confused or insecure.
● Lucy or Tom may be the victim of someone else’s aggression.
Teach your child to assert him/herself with words and practice the following sentences over and over:
● eg. “I don’t like how you are talking to me or about me. Please stop.”
● eg. “ I don’t want to fight. It’s not worth it to me to get suspended.
Continue role-playing and maybe add the following responses and then walk away:
● Thanks. I love compliments or
● Old clothes are in, better go out and buy some or
● It’s not in fashion to be in fashion, didn’t you know?
Explain to your child that we all have control of our reactions, if not our feelings:
● We can choose to ignore the message and not do anything or
● We can not let our buttons get pushed.
Help Tom or Lucy to use positive self-talk when he/she is the victim of insults:
● “I’m okay. My opinion of myself is more important than what he/she thinks.”
● “I like myself. What he/she says about my family does not matter.”
Assist your child to have a sense of personal power by building his/her self esteem
● Remind Tom or Lucy about their personal strengths.
● Hug and praise each of them every day.
● Avoid reminding her of past failures or poor behavior.
● Get involved with activities that will improve his talents or help her build friendships.
Use respectful language and behavior at home:
● Ask yourself if you use sarcasm, put downs or critical remarks when angry
● Turn off programs that emphasize physical or verbal aggression.
Encourage your child to ask for peer mediation.
For continuing or severe problems, get involved:
● If the problem is at school, contact an administrator, counselor, or teacher or school psychologist and arrange a conference. Set a time for a follow-up session
● If it is a neighborhood problem, request to meet with the parents. Stay calm and work towards solutions, not blame.