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    Advice You Can Give your Children about Bullies

    The key to helping youngsters is providing strategies that deal with bullying on an everyday basis and also help restore their self-esteem and regain a sense of dignity.

    It may be tempting to tell a child 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. And you may worry that your child will continue to suffer at the hands of the antagonizer.

    But it's important to advise youngsters not to respond to bullying by fighting or bullying back. It can quickly escalate into violence, trouble, and someone getting injured. Instead, it's best to walk away from the situation, hang out with others, and tell trusted grown up.

    Here are some other strategies to discuss with youngsters that can help improve the situation and make them feel better:

    Avoid the antagonizer and use the buddy system. Use a different bathroom if a antagonizer is nearby and don't go to your locker when there is nobody around. Make sure you have someone with you so that you're not alone with the bully. Buddy up with a friend on the bus, in the hallways, or at recess — wherever the antagonizer is. Offer to do the same for a friend.

    Hold the anger. It's natural to get stressed or angry when being bullied, but that's what antagonizers thrive on. They are seeking power. Practice not reacting by crying or looking red or agitated. It takes a lot of practice, but it's a useful skill for keeping off of a bully's radar. Sometimes youngsters find it useful to practice "cool down" strategies such as counting to 10, writing down their angry words, taking deep breaths or walking away. Sometimes the best thing to do is to teach youngsters to wear a "poker face" until they are clear of any danger (smiling or laughing may provoke the bully).

    Walk away, ignore the bully. Firmly and clearly tell the bully to stop, then walk away. Practice ways to ignore the hurtful remarks, like acting uninterested or texting someone on your cell phone. By ignoring the bully, you're showing that you don't care. In the course of time, the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you.

    Tell trusted grown up. Many adults at school can help stop bullying.

    Talk about your situation. Talk to someone you trust, such as a adults at school, siblings, parents or friends. They may offer some helpful suggestions, and even if they can't fix the situation, it may keep you from feeling lonely and it always feels better to talk about your problems.

    Remove what the Bully wants. If the bully is demanding your food money, start bringing your food. If he's trying to take your material possessions, don't bring them to school.


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