Being a bystander to bullying

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Being a bystander to bullying

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If your child comes home and says that another child's being teased, use it as an opportunity to help your child learn how to be compassionate, and also learn what the difference between good teasing or bad teasing is. Let's start with just asking your child what happened. What did it look like? Then you take a moment to teach friendly teasing is when two kids are just bantering together. Unfriendly teasing is when the other child's making fun of that child and he can't hold his own. If you notice that your friend doesn't feel happy or he's really being upset by it, you could do a few things to become a caring buddy. And you don't have to do things that are physical. First, you can just walk up and say, "Do you need some help?" Or feel free to tell the other kid, "That's not nice." Sometimes you can just silently walk over to the buddy and put your hand on his shoulder; you don't need to do anything, just that can be a buddy enough. If you notice that the teasing's going up a notch and it's actually bullying, bullying is there's a power imbalance; one kid can't hold their own. It's almost always repeated, and there's a negative intent. This bully is doing some cold-blooded intentional cruelty to this other child, the best option there is feel free to be a buddy and go tell a teacher. If we teach our children skills to empower them early, you can actually help them not only be compassionate but feel better and more secure in any situation they're in later on in life.

Watch Michele Borba, EdD's video on Being a bystander to bullying...

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Michele Borba, EdD

Educational Psychologist

Michele Borba, EdD is a Today Show contributor and recipient of the National Educator Award. She is recognized for her practical, solution-based parenting strategies and is an expert of bullying. Michele is the author of 22 books including Building Moral Intelligence and No More Misbehavin’. She appears as an expert on shows such as Dr. Phil, The View, and CNN and is an advisory board member for Parentsmagazine. 

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