Friends at School

Bully-Proofing Your Child

Is your child being targeted by bullies at school? Learn how involving the school and teaching him to look a bully in the eye can stop the teasing and taunting in its tracks.

Help your child strategically stand up to bullies like game of chess
Help your child strategically stand up to bullies like game of chess

Teasing and playful banter are an inevitable part of childhood, but children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often don’t know how to respond. Parents should encourage their children to stand up to teasing without overreacting, which might escalate the problem.

  • Alert your child’s teachers and school principal about any bullying at school, and let the school take care of the situation.
  • Suggest that the school establish antibullying rules, if it hasn’t already done so.
  • Encourage your child to stay calm in the face of the bullying. He might count to 10 or take a few deep breaths before responding. Help him brainstorm some good comebacks. He could agree with the bully: “I am overweight. Maybe I should go on a diet.” Or he could preempt taunts by saying, “Hi, what are you going to tease me about today?” The key is to remain emotionally detached.
  • Teach your child to yell, “Ouch! Stop that!” each time he’s taunted. That will attract an adult’s attention without his tattling.
  • Encourage your child to stand up straight, make eye contact, and speak in a firm, authoritative tone. If the bullying seems to have a specific, petty target – like the type of cap your son wears on the bus – have him leave it home for a few days.
  • Ask your child for a daily progress report, and offer abundant encouragement.

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