Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Helping Your Child Deal with Bullies

06/09/2015 | Published by: Kelli Zermeno

School will soon be back in session! New clothes, fresh pens and more.  Maybe a bully in your child’s homeroom? Hopefully, this is not a problem for your kid. Thankfully, not everyone has to deal with it. But for those who do, it’s hard to know just what to do.

They say for every five positive things said, it takes only one negative thing to bring it all down. When you have a child with a disability, this can be all too common. We need to arm our children with tools to shake off bullies and to deal with them appropriately! Almost nothing will beat down your child’s self-confidence like a bully. Physical, emotional and mental taunting is painful and degrading.

How can we help our child? You can help build their self-esteem. Compliment your child! Acknowledging accomplishments both big and small can really elevate your child’s self-esteem. Tell your child how nice he looks.  Remind her what a beautiful heart and smile she has. Let him know how proud you are of his good behavior in class.  Tell her how beautiful her artwork is.  Be truthful and kind.  Your child will know if you aren’t being honest with them.  Don’t miss an opportunity to let your child know how wonderful, kind and thoughtful they are.  Focus on the positive.  You get the idea.

And when your child compliments himself or herself, encourage that positive attitude. The smallest things in your eyes may be really big ones to your child. Recognizing the good things about yourself and the things you do well is powerful.  When your child has a solid idea of who they are they will be less likely to be negatively affected by a bully.

It’s also important to recognize what “bullying” really is.  According to stopbullying.gov, “…Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.”  Last year, my daughter was so depressed about the bullying she experienced at school that she begged me to homeschool her. She had made the majorette line and a couple of the other girls made it known that she was not part of “their group.” Other kids in school taunted her with mean names, pushing and threats.

I was constantly up at the school, working with teachers and principals to stop it. At the same time, I worked hard to help build up her self-esteem. Complimented her on her twirling skills, how beautiful she was, how shockingly good she was at applying makeup (seriously, why didn’t I have YouTube tutorials as a young teen?!), how proud I was of her grades and more.

Flash forward to the next school year, and that girl is OWNING it! Someone tries to talk trash and she either shakes it off, makes a joke or flips it around and tells THEM how fabulous she is! When you are confident, when your foundation is solid, it takes a lot more work than most kids are willing to put in to bullying your child.

Stopbullying.gov uses webinars, videos, and other tools to help deal with this threat.  They also provide information about state anti-bullying laws and policies.  If your child is or has been a target of bullying, this website is a great place to start looking for helpful resources. 

Also be sure to take a look at our page on Bullying for more information. 

Get informed.  There are steps you can take to help your child deal with bullying.  Bullying is a plague in our society that we can help eliminate.