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Middle Years January 2018

The power to stop bullying

Bullying typically peaks in the middle grades, as tweens try to figure out where they fit in with their peers. These ideas will help your middle schooler know what bullying can look like—and learn how to be a part of the solution.

Recognize
Ask your child if he has seen bullying at school. Discuss how bullying comes in many forms, including spreading rumors, making threats, or leaving someone out on purpose. Even if your tween hasn’t seen anyone trip or punch a fellow student, he might realize that the kid who is frequently called names or whispered about is being bullied.

Stand up
Children who are bullied need to know they have someone on their side. If your middle grader witnesses bullying, he can calmly step in by saying something like “That’s not funny” or “You’re being mean.” Or he might ignore the bully and address the target: “Let’s sit at another table” or “I think your shoes are cool.”

Report
Tweens may be afraid that bullying will get worse if they tell an adult. But explain that school staff can often resolve an issue without revealing who reported it. For example, if your child sees a kid knock papers out of someone’s hands on the bus, he could alert the driver. At school, he can privately tell a teacher or the principal about bullying—and encourage other students to do so, too.

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