Bullying, A Serious Business

How Can Parents Help Eliminate Bullying?

The reality is that no single program can eliminate bullying in a school. So how do you lessen the odds that your child will be victimized? Start early in teaching your son or daughter to be a good friend, says University of Illinois professor of educational psychology Gary W. Ladd, Ph.D.; children who have more friends are bullied less than those who can't turn to other kids for support. Set up regular playdates and intervene if your child needs help learning to communicate or take turns. "Ask yourself, 'What makes relationships work? Does my child have those skills?'" Dr. Ladd says.

Keep in mind, too, that young people can be intolerant of differences. Do what you can to ensure that your child doesn't stand out from the crowd in awkward ways. "Take a good look at what goes on at school," advises Dr. Ross. "How do the kids dress? What lunch boxes are they carrying? Send your child off with similar outward trappings." What if your child is already being bullied? Sadly, many children are too afraid, ashamed, or discouraged to speak up.

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