WT 024: How Do I Handle Kids and Bullying?
Today’s episode topic is one that every parent thinks about (and prays that they never have to deal with). Bullying. Karen and Sunny share a heart-felt conversation on what do when your kid is getting bullied, how to deal with their friend drama and even what to do when your kid is the bully. This is an episode you do not want to miss.
Question 1: “Dear Karen, I heavily suspect that my son is getting bullied at school. In particular, on the bus. He’s very shy by nature and he used to love the bus – but all of a sudden he seems to hate the bus and gets very upset when I’m not able to drive him to and from school. The problem is, I’ve tried in multiple ways to talk to him about it and he won’t confirm that it happens. I even have asked him directly and he tells me no. But I trust my mother’s intuition on this one. What do I do to get him to open up to me and is it even possible to combat unconfirmed bullying?”
Karen’s Answer: Great question, and this one is hard! I would say things like, “You can talk to me, I’m safe.” “I feel like someone is not treating you nicely, is that true?” You could alert the bus driver to keep an eye out or move him to the front.
My children had their fair share of people that didn’t like them and let’s be honest, children are cruel! Even my kids were cruel to others at times. It’s part of growing up, but it is super hard! One of my children had to go to a counselor for some bullying issues and the counselor told them to stand up to the bully, that was the only way they would back down. You have to take the power away from the bully. That makes us moms nervous for sure!
Question 2: “Karen – I am so out of my element on this one. After a bit of denial, I have accepted that my 10-year-old daughter is a bully at school. We have had multiple instances of her saying mean things on the bus, and being very mean to easy-target kids at school. She lives in a happy, healthy home where she is very loved by her parents so I just don’t know where this is coming from. Should I seek professional help?”
Karen’s Answer: First off, i am SO proud of you as a mom! Most moms stay in denial and will never admit their child is a bully. So, good job mom!! To answer your question, yes! I think counseling is good and they will get to the root of the problem quicker than you can.
When I would hear my child say ugly things to someone or about someone, I would always talk to them afterward and point out that it was not nice. I’d say, “How would that make you feel if your friend said that about you?”
Question 3: “My son is very aware that he is “husky” and he is getting teased for it at school. We are doing things at home to help him physically, like eating healthy and taking walks, but I am heartbroken over the teasing. How do I get through this?”
Karen’s Answer: Taylor was the same way. He stayed in the chubby stage for about 5 years. It was hard, his sisters were skinny and he wore husky pants for years. I would talk to Taylor a lot, encourage him to exercise and eat better. I did limit his sweets to one sweet a day. He did slim down, in 8th grade, but he is a big boy, has big bones, so he will never be like his sisters.
Be intentional with his eating, and possibly change the way you eat as a family as a whole. To encourage Taylor, I started a running program with him. (Which was true love because I hate to run!) We did it together, he never felt like he had to deal with this alone, plus we had a lot of fun!
Question 4: “My daughter is in 10th grade and the girl drama is very intense. It seems like all these girls are constantly changing friend groups and being mean to each other. I know this is a natural part of life and something she has to learn to work through – but I can’t help wanting to step in and call the school or call other parents. How do I know when to back off and when to step in?”
Karen’s Answer: As much as you can don’t get involved. Let your daughter get through it on her own. I KNOW it is hard! But, this is part of life. Girls are mean. What you are experiencing is so normal. Sad but true.
All of my girls dealt with this when they were growing up. Kelsey had one set of friends going into high school and by the time she graduated she had a different set. When she switched groups, it was ugly. Emily felt completely left out until her junior year. Abby lost all her friends her freshman year and she just hung in there till she graduated. She had friends, but she learned not to get too close.
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Thank you moms, have a great day!