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It can be frightening for kids to be the target of a bully. It happens so frequently and it’s important that we give kids specific things they can do when they experience bullying—either as the target or when they see it happening to others. I give kids the following advice when I talk to them about bullying:
InThe Guide to Good Manners for Kids, page 61, I wrote, “Don’t take on the bully yourself. Instead, let your parents know what’s going on. Together with them, talk to your teacher or the principal. Describe exactly what is going on. They’ll help you know what to do if it happens again. Then your teacher and school administrators can deal with the bully. It is their responsibility to assure your safety at school and help you and your parents deal with the situation. But they can’t do it if you don’t let them know what’s going on.”
As I prepared to write this post, I went out on the internet. There are many sites with advice for kids about handling bullies. I particularly liked the site on PBS Kids – It’s My Life. Take a look with your kids. The most important thing you can do is talk with your kids about bullying. Even if it’s not a problem today, it might be tomorrow. If your kids are used to talking about the subject with you, they are more likely to tell you when it is a problem. That’s the most important thing they can do. However, it only works if you take them seriously. Whatever else you do, do take them seriously.
This article originally appeared as a post on Cindy’s parenting blog, The Gift of Good Manners, which is now part of our Etiquette Daily blog.