It is clear that more and more children are being victimized by a bully in their lives. A challenging situation that adults face is how to help their kids handle the situation. We all have experienced having a bully in our lives. Here are a few tips from the executive director of ATS Counseling Focus Institute Rebecca Kroeker, MHR, LPC, RPT-S:

1. Advise your child to stand tall!
If you look and act confident, then you are not letting that have power over you. This means having good eye contact and holding your head high. Even if you don’t feel confident. “I always say, “Fake it until you make it!”

2. Role play with your child to make the bully hear that what he or she is doing is not okay.
Say in a strong voice, “No, stop it!” or “What you’re doing is not right!” By saying these things in a strong voice, you are showing you are not scared by the bully’s tactics and you are bringing to light that what the bully is doing is NOT okay.

3. Advise your child to not show their feelings.
This goes back to standing tall. Even if you do not feel confident, the best thing you can do is to hide those scared or hurt feelings and instead show that you are strong and confident. Say things inside your head, like “I’m a good person” or “I don’t deserve this”.

4. Help your child plan ahead for situations.
Whether this means taking a different route home or hanging out in different areas, do not make yourself a target.

5. Encourage your child to talk to the bully individually.
Oftentimes, bullies act mean when they have friends around or an audience. If you talk to that bully individually, you even the playing field, getting the bully to see your point of view.

6. Encourage your child to ask for help at school.
Everyone has a right to be safe, so talk to a trusted adult, like a parent, a teacher or a counselor.

If bullying goes too far, whether through physical violence or you have tried all of these steps without any change, parents need to step in and help resolve the issue. Bullying is NOT okay. No one should have to be subjected to it.