You know how upsetting it is to see someone get hurt? Especially a kid? Something similar happens with schoolyard bullying. It doesn’t just shake up the victim, it harms every kid in the place. In high schools with high rates of bullying, all the students -- not just those bullying or being bullied -- get significantly lower-than-average scores on standardized tests.
Bullying is as common as lice. Between 40 percent and 80 percent of schoolchildren say it has happened to them. Fortunately, there are things to do that won’t make it worse (every picked-on kid’s nightmare). We put these tips together in our last book, “YOU: The Owner’s Manual for Teens.”
1. If you suspect your kid’s a target, don’t wait for it to come up. Kids often feel ashamed of being bullied. Take regular walks together and casually chat about what’s happening at school. It can make opening up easier.
2. Teach your kid to stick with friends. Bullies usually go after singles, not groups.
3. If your teen’s being taunted, suggest walking away as if it didn’t matter -- bullies crave over-the-top reactions.
4. Sign your kid up for a martial-arts class, as much for the confidence as the self-defense. Bullies are less drawn to people who project strength.
5. If online cyberbullying is the problem, help your child set up a new Facebook account and e-mail address. Twice if necessary.
6. Even if you and your kid want to try handling things yourselves first, tell the school. Schoolwide anti-bullying campaigns are the best way to stop it.
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The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show” and Mike Roizen of Cleveland Clinic, are authors of “YOU: Losing Weight.” For more information go to www.RealAge.com.
(c) 2011 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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