Stamp Out Bullying with These 10 Tips

Don't let bullies rule the playground! Here's how to help make your kid's school a safe zone.

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1. Talk Openly With Your Child

Ask a few open-ended questions everyday about your child's social life: Who did you eat lunch with? What did you do at recess? How was walking to school or traveling on the bus? Children who feel comfortable talking to parents BEFORE bullying are more likely to talk to parents about bullying AFTER it occurs.

2. Volunteer at School

67% of bullying happens when adults are not around. Make your child's environment a safe place. Spend time in your child's classroom and on the playground. Organize games and activities that encourage children to make new friends. Whether once a week or once a month, a parent's presence is powerful.

3. Remember the Golden Rule

Show your kids how to stay calm during conflict. Use good communication techniques when you feel angry at another driver, sales clerk, or even your own child. When you speak to others in a mean or abusive way, you are telling your children that bulling is ok.

4. Be on the Lookout

Recognize the possible signs of a child who is bullied: complains of headaches or stomachaches, loses belongings often, avoids recess or school activities, and arrives to school very late or very early. Talk with your child's teacher or directly with your child if you suspect bullying.

5. Teach Anti-Bullying Strategies

Develop anti-bullying and anti-victimization habits in your children as early as kindergarten. Train your children what to do - act kind, play fair, take turns - and what not to do - hit, push, or tease. Cultivate empathy by teaching your child how the other kid feels. Coach your child to firmly say "no," walk away, and ignore the bully.

6. Help Your Child’s School Eliminate Bullying

Learn about the current bullying policy at your child's school. Research shows that "zero-tolerance" policies do not work. Strong anti-bullying programs teach empathy, strategies to resist bullying, and how to become inclusive leaders. Create a healthy social climate in your child's school. Talk to your school principal. Advocate for change.

7. Enforce Rules About Bullying at Home

Directly tell your children that it is NOT okay to bully, be bullied, or watch others bully. Make sure they know what bullying is, and that it is not acceptable. Communicate that it is safe and necessary for them to tell you if they or another kid is bullied.

8. Teach Kids How to be Proactive Witnesses

Bystanders of bullying often feel powerless and seldom intervene. Coach your kids to take action when they see another kid being bullied. Tell your child to safely diffuse a bullying situation by yelling "STOP! You're bullying!" Encourage your child to support the victim and tell an adult.

9. Educate Your Child About Cyberbullying

Children often do not understand cyberbullying, so ask your kids what they know about it. Cyberbulling includes sending mean, rude, or threatening pictures or messages; publicly posting private information about another person; pretending to be another person online, or purposely excluding others from online groups. Limit your child's time online to lessen chances of being cyberbullied.

10. Stamp Out Bullying

Eliminate misconceptions that bullying is a normal part of growing up. Bullying harms the perpetrator, the victim, and the bystanders. The damage can last into adulthood and contribute to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and criminal behavior. Forward this slideshow and other articles about bullying to friends, teachers, and community members.

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