Advice Q&A: How children can deal with bullies

Wicked Local, West Roxbury, Ma.
Boston – Question: I think my 9-year-old son is being bullied by some neighborhood boys. I’m afraid it may get even worse when they go back to school. What can I do to help?

Answer: “You can start by gathering information. Calmly talk to and listen to your child,” suggests Lauren Solotar, Ph.D., chief psychologist for May Institute. “Pick a quiet, peaceful time at home and ask general questions about what is happening in his life. It’s important to avoid interrupting your child and offering premature solutions. It may take several discussions to get the entire story. When you have more information, you may be able to decide the best action to take.”

Bullying is becoming a serious problem in our schools, according to Solotar. Studies show that approximately 15 percent of school-aged children are involved in a bullying situation as either victim or bully. Victims are teased, taunted, threatened, hit, and robbed of money and possessions. Bullies, particularly girls, sometimes take more indirect tactics, working behind the scenes to socially isolate their victims. Although much bullying goes unreported, it is estimated that in the average school an incident of bullying occurs about every seven minutes.

And, bullying is starting at earlier and earlier ages. It is common to find bullies in preschool classrooms. Until about age 7, bullies appear to choose their victims at random. After that, bullies pick out specific children to torment. Full story.


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