Keith is now in the fourth grade and he dislikes school. For a fourth grader, this does not sound right. The reason Keith dislikes school though does not have anything to do with academics. Keith is being bullied before school, at school, and on the school bus. Who can blame him for not wanting to go into that environment?

The basic definition of bullying is when someone keeps doing or saying things to have power over another person. Bullying involves crossing into oneÕs space without permission.

IsnÕt bullying just something that happens to all children and weÕre just making a fuss over this? The children will get over it, right? ShouldnÕt we tell Keith to grow up and handle it? Wrong. Bullying happens to numerous children and adults shouldnÕt be ignoring it.


If Keith is being bullied and he is not reporting it to his parents then there are some very important questions to address.
¥ Why wouldnÕt he tell his parents?
¥ What message have KeithÕs parents sent to him about bullies?
¥ Does KeithÕs parents have a history of dismissing what he says?
¥ Possibly KeithÕs parents have had a habit of getting too involved in solving his problems.

Tips for parents:
¥ Encourage your child to report any bullying incidents to you.
¥ Validate your childÕs feelings. It is normal for your child to feel hurt, sad, and angry.
¥ Ask your child how they have tried to stop the bullying. Asking questions is a wonderful way to have your child do the thinking.
¥ Ask how is he going to solve this. We want the child to do the thinking before we jump in. See how many options he can come up with.
¥ Coach your child in alternatives: avoidance is often an excellent strategy, play in a different place, play a different game, stay near a supervisor, look for new friends, join social activities outside of school. All of these things will help in developing new friends. Have your child do activities with children from other schools.
¥ Talk with your childÕs teacher. Make sure they are aware of what is going on.
¥ Encourage your child to seek help from school personnel.
¥ Volunteer to help supervise activities at school.
¥ Do not ignore your childÕs reports. Ignoring them sends the wrong message.
¥ Do not confront the bully or the bulliesÕ family.
¥ Teach your child how to defend him or herself.
¥ Teach self-respect.
¥ Give numerous positive comments to your child.
¥ Avoid labeling or name-calling.
¥ Let your child know it is okay to express their anger. There are positive and negative ways to express anger, we want to teach and model the positive ways.
¥ Let your children stand up to you now and then. It makes it more likely they will stand up to a bully.
¥ Stress the importance of body language.
¥ Teach your child to use ÒIÓ statements.
¥ Teach positive self-talk.
¥ Teach how to use humor, Òout crazyÓ them. For example, if the bully says to Keith, ÒHey, boy youÕre uglyÓ. Keith can respond in a couple different ways:
ÒThanks for sharingÓ
ÒYes, I know, I always have beenÓ
ÒYes, todayÕs lunch was disgustingÓ THEN WALK AWAY.
¥ You may also want to pick up and dropped your child off at school. This way theyÕre not bullied going or coming from school.

There is many other aspects of bullying to look: Why youÕre the victim, why people bully, what you can do if youÕre bullied, signs your child is being bullied, what schools should be doing, handling the school bus issues. All of these are addressed in Make it stop Ð How to handle bullying a new e-book you can receive FREE at

Author's Bio: 

Derek and Gail Randel M.D. are parent coaches and have customized programs for corporations, schools, and parent groups for putting the fun back into parenting so you can enjoy your children. They have a free monthly newsletter also available. They can be reached at Parent Smart from the Heart, 1-866-89-SMART, or