Parents Can Help Kids Deal with Bullying

AMES, Iowa — Relational aggression in children is another way of saying that kids can be mean to one another. Is there anything parents can do when their children are the victims of this bullying behavior?

“You may not be able to stop the bullying, but you can help your child learn how to deal with the behavior,” says Kimberly Greder, an extension specialist and associate professor of human development and family studies at Iowa State University.

Greder offers these tips.

  • Involve children in activities outside of school so they are exposed to different types of people.
  • Encourage children to develop relationships with adults and other children who appreciate them for who they are.
  • Be available to listen and don’t downplay the importance of an incident of bullying.
  • Teach kindness and model that behavior.
  • Talk about both sides of an issue. Kids may tell you that they have been victims, but they may not tell you if they are acting as bullies.
  • If your child is caught in the middle, encourage him or her to take the high road and support the victim, or at least not take part in the bullying.
  • If necessary, seek professional counseling.
  • Cyberbullying also is a form of relational aggression. Become computer savvy and be aware of your child’s online activities.
  • Do not allow your child to have a computer in his or her room or other isolated area. If your child has a laptop, set guidelines for where and how long he or she can use it.
  • Research filtering and parental control programs for your computers your child uses.