From 40% to 80% of schoolchildren say that they have been bullied. Fortunately, there are things to do that won't make it worse (every picked-on kid's nightmare). Here are a few tips:
- If you suspect your kid's a target, don't wait for it to come up. Kids often feel ashamed of being bullied. Take regular walks together and casually chat about what's happening at school. It can make opening up easier.
- Teach your kid to stick with friends. Bullies usually go after singles, not groups.
- If your teen's being taunted, suggest walking away as if it didn't matter -- bullies crave over-the-top reactions.
- Sign your kid up for a martial arts class, as much for the confidence as the self-defense. Bullies are less drawn to people who project strength.
- If online cyberbullying is the problem, help your child set up a new Facebook account and email address. Twice if necessary.
- Even if you and your kid want to try handling things yourselves first, tell the school. Schoolwide anti-bullying campaigns are the best way to stop it.