Back to School Guide: Teaching kids about bullying

August 6, 2013 2:43:09 PM PDT
As your kids head back to school, one of the big concerns is bullying. And as parents, you want your children to be safe - so they're not bullied - and you certainly want to make sure they're not the instigator, either.

So what can you do to make sure it's not a part of their life? And with all of the attention on bullying, isn't it getting better?

"No," said Dr. Alan Hilfer, of Maimonides Medical Center. "I don't think it's getting better."

Dr. Hilfer has kids and grandchildren, and advises fighting fire with information, communication and parental kindness. He says to teach your kids that anyone can be bullied for anything.

"For their athleticism or lack of athleticism," he said. "They get bullied for their looks. They get bullied for their gender identification. They get bullied for their clothing."

He says some of the most important things are to share your own personal experiences about bullying when you were a kid, to never be a silent bystander and let someone bully someone else, and to tell an adult.

"A bully is often doing to feel superior and gain approval," Dr. Hilfer said. "And if a bunch of kids are shouting that person down, it does two things. Number one, it gets the bully to notice that what he is doing is not socially acceptable. And it gives the victim a degree of support and reassurance."

Let's hope that support part gains momentum.

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