Protecting your children from Bullying

October is National Bullying Prevention Month and as The Centers for Youth and Families we are looking for ways to grow healthy children, families and communities. We must take a stand against bullying and raise children who are empathetic, thoughtful and have a high level of self-esteem.

Reality is that at some point in your child’s life, it’s likely that they are going to be picked on or made fun of. As a parent who does everything they can to protect their children this is disheartening. You can protect your child from hurting themselves on a bike by giving them training wheels when they’re first learning to ride and you can give them a helmet and knee pads and gloves for their hands in case they wreck their bike. You can buy a car with airbags and safety features and give your kids driving lessons to teach them to be a safer driver.

You teach your children to look both ways before they cross the street, but do you teach them how not to hurt if they are picked on? Do you teach them not to hurt others? Here are some parenting tips on how to raise your child so that they won’t become a bully and ideas on how to build their self-esteem so that they are protected from bullies.

Watch this video from KTHV’s Morning Show were a couple of tips for parents are discussed. Below the video those tips, and more, are explained in further detail. Please let us know if our outpatient therapy or Parent Resource Center can be of help to you and your children.



Suggestions for protecting your child from BECOMING a bully:

1. Spend time with your children and help them see other points of view: Plan time each day to talk with your children about any joys or difficulties they encounter. When you hear them saying negative things about other children, or see them acting unkind to others, address those issues with them at that time. Talk about how it would make them feel if those things were happening to them and work together to find respectful cooperative ways to solve their issues with other children.

2. Develop clear and consistent rules within your family for your child’s behavior: Praise and reinforce your children for following rules and for being kind and thoughtful. And set non-violent, non hostile consequences for violating those rules and avoid public-put downs. Make sure that your children understand the consequences of their actions and that bullying is unacceptable.

3. Talk with your child about who their friends are and what they do together: Peers can be very influential, especially for teens. Invite your children’s friends over for dinner one night and actually sit down and eat with them or hang out in the kitchen while they’re eating – it’s a great way to hear what’s going on in school, to possibly overhear how they might be talking about others and then if necessary intercede and provide feedback on more positive behaviors.

4. Model respect, kindness and empathy:  You are your child’s role model, whether you want to be or not and they will learn to treat others with respect by watching you. Show kindness to others and your children will likely do the same.

5. Monitor your children’s activity: Check their social media pages and text conversations, review comments they write on others photos and statuses.


Suggestions for protecting your child from BEING bullied:

I don’t know that you can do this 100% as you're not always going to be by your child's side to ward of the negative that might come at him or her through the years. What you can do though is protect them from being hurt by the things bullies say by building your child’s self esteem.

Healthy self-esteem is a child’s armor against the challenges of the world. Kids who know their strengths and weaknesses and feel good about themselves have an easier time handling conflicts and resisting negative pressures. By building that armor for our children we help them to more easily handle and walk away without bother from situations when they are being bullied, or picked on.

The question is how do you raise a child with strong, positive self esteem?

1. Get them involved with what they enjoy: Find the activities your child enjoys doing and encourage them to participate in those activities. If they like art – painting or sketching, then look for art classes for kids in your city. If they’re good at swimming, then get them on a swim team. Keeping them involved in activities that they enjoy and are good at will help to build their confidence and will also help them build friendships with other children who have similar interests.

2. Reward effort and completion instead of outcome: Kids are sensitive to parents and other’s words. Remember to praise your children for a job well done, but also for the effort and be truthful. If you’re child doesn’t make the dance team, avoid saying things like “Well, next time you’ll work harder and make it.” Instead try “Well you didn’t make the team but I’m really proud of the effort you put into it and the new dance moves you learned.”

Sometime’s a child’s skill level isn’t there, so helping kids overcome disappointments can really help them learn what they’re good at and what they’re not good at.

Use warmth and humor to help them learn about themselves and appreciate what makes them unique. You might do this by talking about what you couldn’t do when you were little...”I couldn’t dance on a stage like you do to save my life when I was little. I’m impressed with you!”

3. Be a positive role model: If you (the parent) are excessively harsh on yourself, pessimistic or unrealistic about your abilities and limitations, your kids might eventually mirror you. Nurture your own self-esteem and they’ll have a great role model.

4. Be spontaneous and affectionate: Your love will help boost your child’s self-esteem. Give hugs and tell kids you’re proud of them when you can see them putting effort toward something or trying something at which they previously failed. Put notes in your children’s lunchbox with messages like “I think you’re terrific!” Give praise often and honestly. I always promote making sure you tell your children once a day a reason you’re proud of them, or pointing out how good they are at something. You need to hear this at every stage of your life, but in particular when you’re building your coat of armor as a child.

Please contact The Centers Parent Resource Center at 666.6833 if you’d like information on bullying and other parenting topics. If you feel that your child is need of more serious therapy, please reach out to our Outpatient Therapy program by calling 666.8686.

To be a part of our parenting conversations and for other parenting and mental health tips follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter @TheCentersAR.


Date: Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Author: CFYF Marketing

Sources:,, The Centers Parent Resource Center