To keep children safe from bullies, parents must first become more aware. Pay attention to your child’s reports of school or neighborhood violence. Take an active role at school and keep your eyes open to potential problems.

Watch for signs that your child is being bullied. These include torn clothing, unexplained bruises, moodiness, a drop in grades or appetite, few friends, and poor self-esteem. Be suspicious if your child often says he “loses” his lunch money or school supplies. A bully might be taking these from him.

Here’s how to help your child cope with bullies:

  • Take a firm stand. Tell your child that aggressive behavior in school, around the neighborhood, or at home is not acceptable.

  • Ask your child to tell you about other children’s aggression and threats toward him.

  • Record bullying incidents and report them to school authorities.

  • Build your child’s self-esteem.

  • Teach your child how to respond to bullying—to be assertive and leave the scene with dignity.

  • Don’t tell your child to strike back. This promotes more violence. Plus your child will feel she has to solve her problems alone—without adult help.

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