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Tips for Handling Bullying in School

If your child is being bullied, it's important that you help them understand that bullying is never their fault. Bullying is always more about the person who is engaging in the behavior and not the person being targeted.

It's not up to a child to prevent their own bullying, but it can be helpful to have a plan in place for how to address it and potentially help stop it from escalating. Here are some suggestions to prepare a toolkit for kids to use in tough situations when it can be hard for them to think straight.

Promote positive body language

By age 3, your child is ready to learn tricks that may help them feel more empowered in difficult situations, including when being faced with bullying behavior. "Tell your child to practice looking at the color of their friends' eyes and to do the same thing when they are talking to a child who's bothering them," says Dr. Borba. This will force them to hold their head up so they will appear more confident.

That's not to say that being confident will necessarily stop a bully or that not being confident enough will promote bullying, but confidence can help your child feel more empowered in a challenging situation. Also, practice making sad, brave, and happy faces and encouraging them to switch to "brave" if they are being bothered. "How you look when you encounter a bully is more important than what you say," says Dr. Borba.