Talking to Henry about Bullying


I’ve been struggling with this for a few months.  I have a great kid who is sensitive to what those around him are doing.  He tells me about “bullying” in the first grade and I want to prepare him for life, but I don’t want to make him afraid of life or unable to handle his own problems.I want to step in when there is real danger, but I also want to teach him to be a more-resilient, less-enticing target.

I have always encouraged parents and teachers to empower kids – NOT to overreact to teasing and less-harmful testing that often occurs in peer relationships. When it’s your own six-year-old, its tougher to do.

Adults, get involved when there is real harm or the threat of real harm. At other times, help your kids learn to handle mean or rude people.

Trudy Ludwig says this much better than I of — See her posting here.

 How to Talk to Your Kids about Bullying | A Platform for Good.


Supporting Kids Around Bullying

Yesterday, my six-year-old son was telling me about a “bully” on the playground who was “beating up” one of his friends.  He wanted to know what he should have done.

We talked about how he could intervene.  He could get an adult.  He could stand up for his friends and tell the bully to stop.

We talked about the importance of showing kindness to his friend and to anyone in his school who is being bullied.  Henry  is lucky. He is tall and popular and bright. We discussed how he has a responsibility to help those less fortunate.

But, for all my years working with kids, and families.  When it  came to my own child.  I felt so unsure about what to say to him about bullying.  If you’re struggling with how to address this topic, here is a resource you might find helpful.   Support the Kids Involved |

The Family Coach Method: Lynne Kenney: Kindle Store

Best known as The Family Coach, Dr. Lynne Kenney shows parents of children ages 3 to 8 the critical years for developing values and behavior patterns how to create specific, foundational life skills that will stay with children through good times and bad.

via The Family Coach Method: Lynne Kenney: Kindle Store.


I just bought the Kindle version of this book.  I recommend it to parents and professionals who work with families.

10 Steps to Stop Yelling | Psychology Today

“Stop gathering “kindling” — those resentments you start to pile up when you’re having a bad day. Once you have enough kindling, a firestorm is inevitable. Instead, stop, take responsibility for your own mood, give yourself what you need to feel better, and shift yourself to a happier place.”

via 10 Steps to Stop Yelling | Psychology Today.


I love this quote, number 4 of Laura Markham’s 10 Steps to Stop Yelling.  It applies to all of our relationships, but is so important with our kids.  When we focus on being empathic with our kids we teach them to manage their emotions.  Our goal should not be to make our children perfect, our goal should be  to teach our children to choose good behavior.


More from Dr. Markham here:

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting

On the Benefits of Failure | Psychology Today

A society that worships winners tends to make horrible choices, whether considered from a moral, or a practical, perspective

via On the Benefits of Failure | Psychology Today.

Nigel Barber writes a wonderful piece extolling the virtues of failure.  When we don’t allow our children to fail we deprive them of opportunities to develop the “emotional muscles” needed to face difficulties later in life.


If you enjoy Dr. Barber’s writing, check out these books on Amazon,

Kindness In A Cruel World: The Evolution Of Altruism
Why Parents Matter: Parental Investment and Child Outcomes