HANDLING BULLIES: Help Your Child Combat Bullying with Improved Social Skills and Self-Awareness


by Dr. Zach Petter, DC

Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Helping your child avoid bullies can be just as successful as the teaching startegies that are focused on putting a stop to bullying behavior. It's no secret that kids with learning and behavioral disorders like ADHD are often easy targets for bullies. Some kids lack proper social skills and may unintentionally behave in a way that invites the attention of bullies.

With social skills training and self-awareness, kids can avoid bullies and feel empowered to control their own behavior.

If your child struggles with social skills, here are six tips that can help your child improve social interactions and connect with success in their academic and personal lives:

  •  If you suspect that your child is the target of bullying, ask your child’s teacher whether social skills are contributing to any difficulties your child may be having.
  • Ask your child what was happening right before the bullying started and what he or she might do differently next time to avoid it. This will help your child figure out what triggered the bully to act. The more aware the child is, the easier it is to change behavior.
  • Give your child some verbal tools to defuse the bully. Your child might say with a smile, “OK, you’re the winner — you win, I lose,” and walk away. Bullies love to argue, so a little indifference takes the wind out of their sails.
  • Explain to your child that he or she can avoid problems with “low profile” behavior, such as using a quieter voice, staying attuned to whether others are interested in what they have to say, and by maintaining a balance between observing and talking.
  • Because bullying often takes place during sporting activities, especially team sports, it may be better for a child who is bullied often to participate in individual sports like rollerblading, skateboarding, skiing, bike riding, cross country running and gymnastics. Body coordination is essential for brain development, so athletics will help your child build strength and confidence.
  • Be patient with your child. Some children have unique talents, and you should help your child explore and develop these gifts. To avoid behaviors that may make other children angry or annoyed, explain it this way: “There are things you are great at and things you are a little behind in. Let’s work together on the things you’re behind in.” You will discover that, most of the time, children are eager to improve their behaviors.

Dr. Zach Petter and his wife Amanda own the Brain Balance Achievement Center of San Antonio. The center helps children reach their academic, behavioral and social potential through a unique drug-free, wholechild approach. The Brain Balance Program utilizes customized sensory motor and cognitive activity plans, coupled with nutrition guidelines to address the root cause of most learning and developmental disorders. The San Antonio center is located at 1742 N. Loop 1604 E. Suite 121. For more information and additional resources, call 210-620-7378 or visit www.BrainBalanceSATX.com.

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