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Here’s a tip if your child has been having a rough time at school, especially if they have been bullied. Let them have a completely different social group. It might be Scouts, a hobby club, drama group or sports, but it is somewhere where there will be a totally different set of kids from the ones your child normally mixes with. It means the bully isn’t present and also the witnesses to the bullying aren’t there either.

First of all your child can relax – the bully isn’t there so they are not going to be hassled – and so even though there is the stress of fitting in with a new group, it’s a lot less stress than handling a bully. It’ll be a safe, emotional holiday. And the kids who have seen your child getting bullied aren’t there either and so your child can re-invent herself. At school, she might have fallen into the habit of a cringing retreating style – she doesn’t have to. She can try on new, more assertive style, more expressive, more fun, more like she knows she really wants to be.

This might not be a convenient strategy – it might mean driving to another suburb, but it can work wonders for shy kids who need their confidence restored. And if anything repels bullies, it’s self esteem and confidence.

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John Cowan

Writer, speaker and broadcaster, John Cowan shares his insight and opinions about the latest in parenting and family news in New Zealand. Hear John speak on radio stations every week throughout the country and regularly on national TV.  Follow @JohnCowanNZ on Twitter

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