5 Strategies for Helping Tweens Cope with Bullying


Do Something About It

If your child's being bullied, steer clear of bad advice. Don't tell your tween to "stand up for yourself." She doesn't have the skills to follow your nebulous advice, and in the end, she'll simply stop telling you she's being bullied. Don't advise your son to duke it out with his intimidator, either. Your child was probably targeted because he exhibits some kind of perceived weakness, and fisticuffs aren't going to solve anything. However, if your child is physically attacked, tell him or her it's all right to fight back in self-defense. To this end, self-defense training can be a good way to build confidence and take away the fear factor.

However, the No. 1 thing you can do as a parent is to face the problem right away. If the bullying takes place at or near your child's school (and most bullying does), go straight to teachers and administrators. Ask that as you come up with a plan of action together, they keep your child's concerns under wraps to prevent retaliation. Remember, when bullying involves a school setting, it's the job and responsibility of administrators to offer help and solutions. Many schools have implemented zero-tolerance bullying policies. If your child's school hasn't, it's probably time they do.

If the school seems unable to assist, know your child's rights. In all but five states, school districts are required by law to investigate acts of intimidation or bullying. What else can you do at home to help your tween? Host an impromptu acting class.