Words by: Dr. Jason Dobrow, Guidance Counselor
Dr. Jason Dobrow is the Guidance Counselor at Academy at the Lakes. He is a native of Denver, Colorado and possesses degrees from Arizona State University, University of Colorado at Denver, and the University of South Florida. Jason lives in Tampa with his wife Jacqui, daughter Leila, dog, and 2 cats. In his spare time Jason enjoys spending time with family, running, reading, and anything related to the Denver Broncos.
As parents we all know that our children might be picked on or teased by a peer at some point in time.
While this behavior is an unfortunate by-product of being a child, it does not make coping with it any easier for children or parents.
In an ideal world no child would ever have to deal with bullying or teasing.
Behavior in this area can range from benign, light-hearted teasing, all the way up to bullying.
While we, as parents, might often feel helpless and uncertain about how to help our children deal with difficult peers, there are a variety of ways we can help!
The following suggestions are for parents to help their children proactively and positively deal with being picked on or teased.
How to help children deal with teasing or bullying
Recognize the Warning Signs
Some common bullying warning signs are:
- Withdrawn or out-of-character behavior
- Frequently faking illness to get out of school or social engagements
- Changes in eating habits
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased anxiety
- Declining grades
- Self-destructive behavior
Maintain Open Communication
Make it easy is for your child to talk to you and tell you details regarding what is occurring. Set aside time each day to talk about your child’s day, not just the negative, but positive highlights as well. Share about your day and your concerns as well. Keeping the lines of communication constantly open with your child will encourage him or her to come to you when things get hard.
Here are some great tips from the American Psychological Association on learning how to foster a healthy relationship with your child through communication.
Understand Why Children Pick on Others
By understanding more about why children tease, pick on, or even bully others, you can help your child understand and ultimately deal with problematic behaviors coming from peers. Reasons children pick on others include:
- Low Self-Esteem
- Lack of Proper Social Skills
- Projection (they are picked on themselves)
- Cognitive Distortions
- Peer Pressure
- To feel in Control
Be Calm and Understanding
Often children do not tell their parents about issues with peers out of fear of parental overreaction. Calmly listening to your children’s concerns is the best way to deal with the problem.
Provide Proactive Advice
Giving your child the tools they need to handle teasing or bullying is a great way to help them feel more confident and get through these situations.
Help Restore Confidence
Children often lose confidence when being picked on by other students. Actively encourage children to engage in prosocial activities, especially those that they enjoy!
Communicate with the School
Don’t go at it alone. The lines of communication between you and your child aren’t the only ones that are important. Communicating with your child’s school and getting teachers involved when necessary will add another layer of comfort for you and your child. Academy has great resources in place to help deal with peer conflicts of all types.
More Helpful Resources