What makes certain children targets for bullies?

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What makes certain children targets for bullies?

There are certain characteristics of children who are targets, but we have to be really careful about this because, if a kid wants to bully a certain child, they can bully anybody. It doesn't matter what the kid does, but there are certain characteristics that make them vulnerable. Here's what may happen. A kid may be skinny, be big, have red hair, have different clothes, they may have something in their voice that makes the kid think that they are different. Some vulnerability may make a kid susceptible to bullying. However, here's the reality: Even though a kid may be tested out because of some difference, the kids who continually get bullied, are not bullied because of those characteristics. They are bullied because of something else. Children who get targeted, generally, do something different. What they do is, they give off a big emotional reaction. They get really dramatic. They get really angry. They get really excitable. Then the child who does the bullying looks to his friends to show them that kid has the problem, not him. What's important is that if you can work with your child to show them that reaction may not be the best way to react and give them a skill to help them learn something different, we can actually help kids who are targets reduce their likelihood of being targeted. It doesn't mean that those kids who learn those skills are responsible for that, we are just talking about helping them build some skills.

Watch Joel Haber, PhD's video on What makes certain children targets for bullies?...


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Joel Haber, PhD

Psychologist, Bullying & Parenting Expert, Author

Dr. Joel Haber is a Clinical Psychologist and internationally recognized bully prevention and parenting expert. He was selected as a webinar leader and a speaker for the Obama Administration Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention initiative.  He was also an invited participant to the Second Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit in 2011. His recent book, Bullyproof Your Child for Life: Protect Your Child from Teasing, Taunting and Bullying for Good set the bullying standard for schools, camps, sports, organizations and families dealing with bully prevention and intervention. He recently published The Resilience Formula: A Guide to Proactive, Not Reactive Parenting.  He is a consultant and expert to the American Camp Association, and to LG Electronics as a member of (LGTextEd.com), providing cyberbullying and mobile harassment expertise to parents and families. He is an advisor to Cartoon Network’s anti-bully campaign: Stop Bullying: Speak Up.  He is an expert for No Snap Judgments: The Addams Family Broadway Show- National Campaign to promote acceptance and tolerance amongst our youth. He is also co-founder of Tool Kits for Kids (toolkitsforkids.com), recipient of five national parenting awards for helping parents and kids develop the tools and emotional life skills to overcome worry, build confidence and develop resilience. He has written and published extensively, speaking each year to thousands of parents and educators to help make children’s lives, safer and better. 

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