How Problem-Solving Skills Help Kids Cope with Bullying

Teach kids to tackle the issue of bullying

bullied teen

While children should never be forced to deal with bullying on their own, it is important that they be involved in addressing the issue. Parents and teachers should not attempt to solve the problem without some input from the victim.

One way to accomplish this is to get them involved in problem solving. Not only will they be taking an active role in dealing with the bullying, but they also will learn an important life skill.

What’s more, helping to solve the problem empowers a victim of bullying and builds self-confidence.

Reasons Problem-Solving Helps Kids Cope

When kids learn problem-solving skills they gain confidence in their ability to make good decisions. They also feel empowered and gain self-confidence.

When kids lack problem-solving skills they may avoid doing anything to resolve the issue. For example, if a child is being bullied or experiences name-calling and isn’t sure how to respond, he may not tell anyone about it. Instead, he suffers in silence. Meanwhile, his grades may decline and he may complain of stomachaches and headaches and miss school.

The goal is to help kids learn how to identify their options for dealing with a bully. They need to learn how to make healthy choices even in the face of adversity.

How to Use Problem Solving to Your Child’s Advantage

When it comes to addressing bullying, the first step is teaching your child how to identify the problem.

Sometimes just talking about the bullying can make a big difference. In fact, many kids feel instant relief once they have the bullying incident out in the open.

Once your child has opened up about what is happening, together discuss several possible solutions for addressing the bullying before you do anything else.

Brainstorm ways he can address the issue such as reporting bullying to the principal, ignoring the bully’s words, avoiding the bully at school by changing his route or telling the bully to stop in a firm voice.

Be sure to talk about the pros and cons of each option. The goal is that your child can evaluate the possible outcomes from either decision and be prepared for what might happen. Doing so also helps him make an informed decision rather than just responding impulsively.

It is also a good idea to get your child to think about how he can deal with the consequences of the bullying. For instance, will exercise help alleviate his stress? Would being proactive and inviting friends over help him cope with being ostracized? The idea is that your child will address his own health and happiness along with the addressing the bullying he is experiencing.

Finally, be sure your child knows that if the first course of action he selects does not work, he can always try something else. The goal is that he keeps trying to address the issue until it is resolved.

Teach Your Child How to Evaluate His Progress

Effective problem-solvers tend to monitor their progress as they work through an issue. Consequently, make sure your child can recognize whether or not progress is being made toward reaching his goals. For instance, has the bullying stopped? Is he feeling better about himself? Are his strategies for standing up to bullying effective?

If he is not making progress, then help him reevaluate his approach and look for new strategies. For instance, if he is still feeling blue about the bullying he experienced or still has a negative view of himself, maybe he needs to think about getting outside help such as a counselor.

Additionally, getting your child to take ownership of his life keeps him from falling into a victim mentality. It also teaches resilience and perseverance, both of which are needed to overcome bullying.  

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