Bully-Proofing Solutions: What To Do If Your Child Is Bullied

We usually think of bullying as physical aggression such as punching, hitting, shoving, but it’s way beyond that. If your kid is being bullied or harassed that means his friend or peers are hurting him intentionally. As a result, your son or daughter feels powerless, helpless, humiliated, shamed, and Bullying-finalhopeless about the whole situation. A bully can “attack” her victim verbally (spreading rumors), saying prejudicial comments or cruel ‘put downs’), emotionally (excluding, humiliating, hazing); as well as sexually harassment. The two biggest mistakes parents make are not taking their children’s complaints seriously and telling them to “toughen up,” and allowing it in the first place. There is no excuse for this behavior, and each and every one of us need to be on the same page to stop it. Here are a few solutions from THE BIG BOOK OF PARENTING SOLUTIONS to help you handle these rougher waters of parenting.

Take your child seriously. Bullying is frightening and humiliating at any age, so listen to your child. Don’t say: “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” “Just toughen up.” “It’ll go away.” “You’re making too big a deal out of this.” Instead, reassure your child that you believe him and will find a way to keep him safe.

Gather facts. Next, you need all the facts so you can help your kid create a plan to stop it. “What happened?” “Who did this?” “Where were you?” “Who was there?” “Were you alone?” “Has it happened before?” “How often?” “How does it start?” “What did you do?” “Do you think he’ll do it again?” “Did anyone help you?” “Did an adult see this?”

Don’t make promises. You may have to protect your child, so make no promises to keep things confidential. “I want to make sure you don’t get hurt, so I can’t guarantee I won’t tell. Let’s see what we can do so this doesn’t happen again.”

Offer specific tips for a plan of action. Most kids can’t handle bullying on their own: they need your help, so provide it. For instance: “I will pick you up after swimming. Don’t take the bus.” “Where can you play instead of by the swings?” “How can you have your books with you so you don’t have to go to your locker?” Bullying usually happens in unsupervised areas so tell your kid to be near others at lunch, recess, in hallways, near lockers, parks, or other areas. Tell your child there’s safety in numbers. “Stay with Kevin at recess.” “Sit with Josh on the bus. He’ll keep an eye out for you.” Kids who have even one friend to confide in can deal with bullying better than those on their own.

Identify a trusting adult who can help your child when you’re not around. They must take this seriously, protect your kid, and, if necessary, keep this confidential.

Create a comeback. Bullies rarely just go away, so offer ways to handle a bully if he must face him (though it’s often best to avoid him altogether). Pleading (“Please stop that”) or feeling-laden messages (“It really makes feel mad when you do that”) rarely work. Bullies want to get their victim upset, and so such comments just means they won. A firm, direct statement such as “Cut it out” or “Leave me alone” are usually best. Sometimes a humorous comeback can derail a bully: “Can you do this later?” “Now why would you say that?” or “Thanks for telling me.” Once your child agrees on a strategy, you must rehearse it until he feels confident to use it alone. A big part of success is the ability to deliver it assertively.

Teach how to use assertive body language. Research finds that kids who learn how to be assertive and appear more confident are less likely to be targeted by bullies. In fact, studies show it’s usually not how “different” your child looks or acts, but rather her insecure posture that makes her an easy target. The real secret is to help your child learn to “look assertive” and that means you can’t appear to be a doormat (when everyone walks on you) or a steamroller (you push everyone to get what you want). You want to look somewhere in between: cool and confident.

Boost self-confidence. Being bullied dramatically affects your child’s self-esteem, so find ways to boost her confidence. A few possibilities including learning martial arts, boxing, or weight-lifting. Find an avenue—such as a hobby, interest, sport, or talent–that your kid enjoys and can excel. Then help her develop the skill so her self-esteem grows. Or encourage your child to join safe kid activities at school or in the community. First, it may help your child make new friends and gain a much-needed support group; second, it will be a place of safety to go after school.

Step in when needed. If there’s ever the possibility your child could be injured–step in. Tell those directly responsible for your child like his teacher, coach, day-care worker. If you do not get assurance, go up a level: call the principal, superintendent, school board or police. If you need to meet with school officials, the bully’s parents, or law enforcement officers, keep records and evidence: torn clothing; threatening email; witness names and phone numbers and details.

Keep the lines of communication open with you child. Let him know in no uncertain terms: “You know you can always come to me.” “I’m so glad you told me.” “Let’s keep talking about what to do so you’re safe.” Above all, be vigilante, and don’t let up until your child feels safe

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Dr Borba’s new book The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries, is one of the most comprehensive parenting book for kids 3 to 13. This down-to-earth guide offers advice for dealing with children’s difficult behavior and hot button issues including biting, tantrums, cheating, bad friends, inappropriate clothing, sex, drugs, peer pressure and much more. Each of the 101 challenging parenting issues includes specific step-by-step solutions and practical advice that is age appropriate based on the latest research. The Big Book of Parenting Solutions has just been released and is now available at amazon.com

What is a good toy for a special needs child?

Whether you are a parent, a caregiver or a birthday party guest it may be challenging to choose a toy for a special needs child. The more information you have about the child, the easier it will be to make the choice so you might want to ask:telefonino2

♦ Is the child working on any specific skills, such as gripping or cutting (fine motor) or jumping (gross motor)?

♦ Does the child have any specific dislikes, such as loud music or flashing lights?

♦ What is the child’s favorite type of play? Dress up? Art? Puzzles? Riding toys?

♦ Who is the child’s favorite character? What is the child’s favorite movie or show or song?

There are a few tools that will help you choose a toy that will not only give the child lots of fun playtime but also might just prove educational or otherwise beneficial:

The Toys R Us Guide for Differently Abled Kids breaks toys down into different skill sets to make shopping less overwhelming and more specific. The guide is available online and also in print in brick & mortar Toys R Us stores. You can order the toys online from Toys R Us or use the guide as research and buy them at any retailer.

Also from Toys R Us is the Faces of Autism slide show of beautiful portraits and the 10 Toys That Speak to Autism selection. Check each toy’s description for its features and benefits.

AblePlay offers offers a rating system, search engine and reviews of toys for special needs kids. You can buy the items online or use the site for research. There are also message boards and blogs on the site, as well as articles and even the ability to build a wish list for your child. AblePlay’s press release gives more information about the site.

The Toys R us guides as well as AblePlay rely heavily on input from Lekotek, which is being threatened by budget cuts in Illinois. Lekotek offers programs and family support in many states and there is info on the site about starting one in any location.

Saving Lives – Helping Kids Escape a Locked Car Trunk

Smart parent demonstrates glow-in-the-dark trunk releaseWe all know little kids love to climb. And hide-and-seek is often a favorite game. Unfortunately no matter how often you stress the danger, a car trunk can still look like a great place to play. That said, I think all of us would agree that with little kids around it’s a good idea to have an internal trunk release – especially since they are known to be the easiest and fastest way to escape from inside of a car trunk. What may not be commonly known however is that most vehicles older than model year 2002 do NOT have a trunk release accessible from inside the trunk compartment. An organization called Kids and Cars has made it a priority to not only pass on this information but to try and address the problem.

Kids and Cars‘ goals are to ensure that not only are children never left unattended in or around vehicles but also to support the design of safer vehicles that eliminate unnecessary deaths and injury to children. Kids and Cars maintains a national database tracking deaths and injuries to children left unattended in or around motor vehicles. Currently there is no federal or state agency that collects this information

Tonight, Janette Fennell, founder of Kids and Cars.org will appear on SpikeTV’s “Surviving Disaster: Home Invasion” during the segment on how to escape from a locked car trunk. And for the 2 weeks following the airing (September 22 – October 6), Kids and Cars.org will offer an after-market Emergency Trunk Release kit at a special “donation price” that includes free shipping.

If you do not currently have an emergency glow-in-the-dark trunk release, it is imperative you purchase one whether from Kids and Cars or elsewhere; if you have one I highly recommend making sure every child knows what it is and how to use it. Three children lost their lives this summer after gaining access to a car trunk that did not have this simple safety device. Not a single trunk related fatality has been reported where one of these devices was installed. The message is clear…we just need to hear it.

For Every Little Girl – Unlocking a Cure for Breast Cancer

Everyone knows someone – a mother, a daughter, a grandmother, a friend who’s had it. For me, it was my mother…and not caribiner masterlocktoo long ago I had that awful pit in my stomach when I thought it was my sister too. This October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And Master Lock is showing its commitment to breast cancer awareness with the introduction of new pink security locks.

“Breast cancer remains one of the most prevalent types of cancer in women and we need to do everything we can to help find a cure,” said John Heppner, president and CEO of Fortune Brands Storage and Security, which includes Master Lock. “…we hope to help unlock a cure for breast cancer by raising awareness and funding research.”

And Master Lock is doing just that. There are 4 different types of lock – each bearing the pink awareness ribbon, the universal symbol of breast cancer awareness. There are locker locks – for work or for the gym, bike cables, even luggage and backpack locks that are approved by TSA for airline travel. And each comes stamped with a little pink ribbon to remind us that with everything we lock up to keep safe, we’re helping to unlock a cure to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.

I would add that in addition to raising awareness, Master Lock is supporting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF) with a $15,000 donation. It is also up to each and every one of us to support BCRF in any way we can. My mother and my sister were lucky. My mom is in full remission and with my sister it was just a scare. Not everyone can say that.

In gratitude, I offer this post as a prayer for every little girl born this year, that they have the chance to grow up in a world where there is no more fear of breast cancer.


Additional Resources:

  • The Master Lock Breast Cancer Awareness Locks may be purchased at local national retailers and at Amazon.com
  • The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is dedicated to preventing breast cancer and finding a cure in our lifetime by funding clinical and genetic research worldwide. For more information about BCRF, visit www.bcrfcure.org or call 1.866.FIND.A.CURE.

We all need to observe National Child Passenger Safety Week

Unacceptable PosterWe struggle in so many ways to keep our children and grandchildren safe from the many dangers we know are out there, both on the streets and in our homes. Yet surprisingly, even those who love them the most, are willing to do everything in their power to protect them from harm, still allow them to be exposed to a dangerous situation, sometimes several times a day. I’m talking about the few minutes required to make sure they are properly restrained in their car.

I’m a grandma. When my own children were young, there were no child restraint safety seats, therefore, no safety regulations regarding their use. Seatbelts were the only safety measures available in cars, and their use was not yet mandatory. Today, with the availability of four types of safety restraints for children based on age, height and weight statistics – and a step-by-step instruction guide to help you figure out which one you need (thank you!) – the watchdogs of child safety have made the use of the proper restraint a no-brainer. Combined with easy-to-follow installation methods (including offering videos as well as live help options) the only part of protection that remains to be taken care of is making sure the restraints are closed properly. That job was never intended to be left for the “kids” to handle themselves. What I think has happened over the last number of years is, with Mom or another caregiver transporting children to school, doctors, play dates, lessons, sports, shopping, etc . . . , everyone is in and out of the car so many times a day, that the easy way out took precedence over what is correct. We let the kids buckle themselves in. But making sure they are safe is an adult responsibility.

It’s time for a reality check. Too many children are killed or maimed each year because an otherwise loving, conscientious caregiver did not realize that the child safety restraint was not the proper one, was not installed correctly, or was not secured the right way. These are senseless and preventable tragedies.

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Reaching out to and teaching these loving caregivers that help is available to minimize or eliminate the injuries sustained by children in a car crash has become the mission of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This week, September 12 through September18, has been designated National Child Passenger Safety Week. Using all the tools at its disposal to spread awareness and make safety checks available to anyone interested in keeping children safe while being transported in a car. NHTSA has gone all-out to spread the word.

We wish everyone concerned in this worthwhile endeavor “good luck”. We’re hoping that every person reading this takes the time to forward the information and the links to all the caregivers they know.

Learning From My Special Child

Raising a child with special needs takes a lot of patience. Before my son was born, I didn’t have much patience. I had a hair trigger temper and was intolerant to people that didn’t learn as quickly as I did. My son taught me a lot. After he was born, I discovered that I zoo 012was living in a very narrow minded world.

In time, he taught me how to be patient. He taught me how to keep my temper in check. I also learned that things that I thought of as important, weren’t. I discovered life through his eyes. My son has a unique way of learning, and he learns at his own pace. I discovered different methods of teaching and discovered that his pace in learning was just fine. It made his accomplishments all the more amazing. When he first walked independently out of one room and towards me, I cried. He was two and a half.

As his mom, I wish things were not so hard for him. I wish he didn’t have all the challenges he has to face everyday. As his mom, I accept him for who he is and do my best to teach him the things he needs to know. He is even more stubborn than I am. This leads to both of us getting frustrated with each other. I’ve learned to take a step back during these times. Instead of forcing him to learn something he is not ready to, I plan activities that he loves to do.

I’ve learned that it is important that my son feel like a normal child. To me, he is. He just requires extra help. He is a ten year old, nonverbal autistic child. The important part of that description is child. As he gets older, he accomplishes things that no one thought he would. I credit this to his amazing intelligence and to the love and trust we have with each other. He will learn things from me that he wasn’t able to learn from anyone else.

Because of my son, I am able to help others. I take the Type A part of my personality and put it into my writing and my online blog. I do the best that I can to share information with others that will be helpful. I also do volunteer work for non profit organizations that work with children. When my children are home, I am their mom. I am not perfect, but I am able to love them and teach them with patience and understanding. Along with my husband, we plan family activities that we all will enjoy.

If you have just discovered that your child has a special need, take a deep breath. You may be wondering if you are up to raising this special child. Take a step back and remember that this is the same child that you loved before the diagnosis. It takes time to adjust to what you need to do to help your child. The important thing to remember is that the two of you are mother and child. Do what needs to be done to help your child, but always remember to take time to express your love. The most important lesson that I have learned from my son is that just being together, taking time to do something he loves, is the most special gift that I can give both of us.