Helping Kids Deal With Bullies

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When Is it Bullying?
Most kids get teased by a sibling or a friend at some point. And it's not usually harmful when done in a playful, friendly, and mutual way, and both kids find it funny. But when teasing becomes hurtful, unkind, and constant, it crosses the line into bullying and needs to stop.

Why Do Kids Bully?
Kids bully for a mix of reasons. Sometimes they pick on kids because they need a victim — someone who seems emotionally or physically weaker, or just acts or appears different in some way — to feel more important, popular, or in control. Although some bullies are bigger or stronger than their victims, that's not always the case.

What Are the Signs of Bullying?
Unless your child tells you about bullying — or has visible bruises or injuries — it can be hard to know if it's happening. But there are some warning signs.

What Can Parents Do?
If your child tells you about being bullied, listen calmly, and offer comfort and support. Kids are often reluctant to tell adults about bullying because they feel embarrassed and ashamed that it's happening, or worry that their parents will be disappointed, upset, angry, or reactive.

Advice for Kids
Parents can help kids learn how to deal with bullying if it happens. For some parents, it may be tempting to tell a kid to fight back. After all, you're angry that your child is suffering and maybe you were told to "stand up for yourself" when you were young. Or you may worry that your child will continue to be bullied, and think that fighting back is the only way to put a bully in their place.


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