It’s difficult to figure out what to do when someone is mean to your child.
When other parents complaining about my child it’s clear that my child may have done something wrong. But when someone is mean to your child you are on the other side of the coin and that can be just as big a challenge.
On the one hand, you want instant retribution but on the other hand, you want to find a way to prevent it from happening again. You can’t be the protector for your child everywhere so here are the best ways to handle what to do when someone is mean to your child.
What To Do When Someone Is Mean To Your Child – 7 Practical Tips
1. Mean Kids weren’t born mean.
Although it’s difficult to accept, especially when someone has just been mean to your child, it’s true. Unkindness and ridicule are traits that children learn. Try to remind your child and yourself that this child is the result of a bad environment, bad teaching and a bad mindset.
2. Talk to an adult
Always remind your child that whenever someone is mean to them they should speak up for themselves. Letting another child get away with being mean without telling someone is a bad example to set.
Allow them to learn about social and environmental guidelines by giving them the opportunity to tell other adults about it.
For example, if it happens at school advise them to inform the teacher. Explain that it might be happening to other children and that your child has to stand up so that other children can feel safer. If you can frame it as a way to help someone else your child may pluck up the courage to do something about it.
3. A bully needs to be shamed
Bullying should never be tolerated. It’s an unhealthy trait that needs to be named and shamed. Remind your child that they should always watch out for bullies and tell you or other adults as soon as it happens.
In that way, everyone knows what has happened and you can formulate a plan to eradicate it once and for all.
4. Be vigilant
Teach your child to be vigilant. Sometimes learning what to do when someone is mean to your child means teaching your child to be aware of when they are being mistreated.
Unkindness can take different forms from physical bullying to peer pressure and being influenced to do things that your child would normally not.
5. Use comeback strategies (examples)
A comeback strategy is a way to take the sting out of a bully or mean kid. In this way, you shelter your child from being picked on and help them to deflect the personal attack.
Being picked on and name-calling will always happen so try and focus on smart things to teach your child to get them out of harm’s way and into a better set of friends.
Try these comeback strategies.:
Question the behaviour
Why did you just push me down on the floor for no reason?
Remind your child to be loud so that other people can hear. Bullies don’t like being publically shamed
Deflect the abusive
Try to turn name-calling into a positive thing.
For example, if someone is taunting your child about a birthmark or spot on their face you can teach them to emphasis that it’s “my favourite mark on my face, thanks for noticing”
A bully is looking for a reaction to get their kicks. If they can’t get it they will just move onto something else that grabs their short attention span.
Similar to above, you can teach your child to ignore it.
Bullies tend to pick on people who are easy to upset. Try to avoid this by ignoring them when it’s appropriate to do so. (a playground it is, as you can walk away. But a school bus isn’t as the taunting will continue in a small space)
This usually works if the bully is a so-called friend.
Confront them and ask them blatantly why they are intent on picking on your child. It can be very confrontational but sometimes as parents, you have to take things into your own hands.
Learning what to do when someone is mean to your child can sometimes mean taken extreme action to get to the bottom of the situation. Remind the child that if they continue to act in this way they will lose their friend forever.
Use this as a last resort when all else fails.