How to Handle Bullying
- Establish a zero-tolerance policy. Let children know that bullying is unacceptable under any circumstances.
- Explain that racism is a very serious form of bullying, and that it’s a matter of racial pride to avoid hurting other human beings.
- Be consistent with your discipline. Stick to your rules so that children know what you expect. When they are unsure of the rules, they sometimes bully to feel more secure and gain control.
- Spend more time with your children. Bullying and other troublesome behavior tends to occur when parents don’t spend enough time with their children. Often, parents are so concerned with earning enough money that they basically leave their children to raise themselves. Children need to be close to their parents, both for reassurance and mutual support.
- Show children how to manage conflicts. “Children learn what they Live” If they witness force being used (yelling, hitting or using threats) to accomplish getting what’s desired, they are most likely to use the same techniques on others for control.
- Encourage bullies to walk a mile in the other person’s shoes. Bullies often have a problem understanding the pain others feel. Have them put themselves in various situations, and come up with solutions where nobody gets hurt. If a child still bullies, don’t let him or her tell you it’s no big deal. Point out that victims of bullying often suffer a lot of pain, which sometimes haunts them for years.
Source: Strength for Their Journey, by Robert Johnson, M.D. and Paulette Stanford, M.D., members of Health Power’s Professional Advisory Committee.