Everyone has dealt with a mean kid at some point in their life. It is not uncommon for children to be cruel to one another, and sadly many kids end up being the target of bullying. The tips below will help kids deal with these situations as they arise.
Have a daily or weekly check-in with kids.
Set up a quick check-in with your kids to make sure things are ok. This short one on one interaction should be predictable so your kids know they can count on you and your support. Simply ask how things are going and if there’s anything you can do to help them. Sometimes they might need advice or they may need you to act on their behalf. It’s possible they just need a listening ear to vent to as well.
Be a good listener
Practice active listening skills. If your child has a problem, help them brainstorm solutions by asking what they would like to do about it. This process can lead them towards their own solution and you may not be able to provide the answer for everything that’s troubling your children. Try not to provide solutions until they ask for them.
Work on emotional regulation
Kids’ brains are still developing all the way into their 20s. Until then, they are still figuring out how to regular their own emotions. Encourage your kids to practice emotional regulation strategies such as breathing, mindfulness, and meditation.
Practice effective communication skills
Demonstrate effective communication strategies. Your kids will retain this information and use it to communicate their own wants, needs, and thoughts to their friends and to mean kids.
Teach conflict resolution skills
Conflict resolution skills are learned. Help your kids develop skills like compromise, negotiation, and how to ask for something they need. This will help them feel more confident in what they say and how they think, which may reduce the likelihood of being targeted by a mean kid.
Ask what they need from you
If your child is being targeted by a mean kid, ask them what they need. They may want to have you intervene or help them find another friend group that’s more accepting of their differences. It could be as simple as wanting someone to listen and understand when the situation arises next time.
Give your kids tips to help them include other children. This will teach empathy and improve their ability for perspective-taking, which may reduce the likelihood of a mean kid targeting them in the future.
It sounds silly, but role-playing can be effective in giving kids practice in dealing with mean kids. This will also help them think of what to do when they’re overwhelmed by a situation that’s similar in the future, and it can be done at any age level!
Make a point to discreetly observe their social interactions
If your child has a problem with mean kids, you may be able to pinpoint the issue by observing their social interactions. This is especially true in younger children who don’t fully understand what’s happening and are trying to do something about it.
Keep their teacher in the loop
Help your child’s teacher be a part of the problem-solving process too. They may have tips for you or they’ll need to know what is going on so that their classroom can remain safe and inclusive.
The Bottom Line
Every kid is sure to encounter mean kids or bullies. Help your children navigate their world by using these tips to help them feel confident in their social environment.
What You Should Do Next…
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