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How to stop Bullying — 5 questions to ask

October 11, 2010

by Jean Tracy
NW Writer

Parents, is your child the victim of a bully? Is he shamed, hit, or teased? Perhaps your kid is the bully. Either way you’ll receive 5 parenting questions in this article you can ask your kids today.

Parents’ Beliefs about Their Bully

I remember parents who brought their 9-year-old son for counseling.

“What’s the problem?” I asked.

Parents: “The teachers say he’s a bully.”

“What does he do?”

Parents: “Like all kids, he acts tough. He calls kids names and gets in fights on the playground. He wins too. The tattle tales tell on him.”

“What’s he like at home?”

Parents: “He fights with his sister. It’s normal.”

If another kid is bullying your child and his parents have this attitude, don’t expect their help. If your child’s the bully, you have work to do.

Bully Research

Research tells us 3.2 million children are targets of bullying each year. Even more, 3.7 million kids are bullies.

Bullying includes; threats, spreading rumors, put-downs, hitting, embarrassment, and more. Kids who get bullied often feel angry and depressed.

How to Ask Your Kids 5 Key Questions about Bullies

Parents, dilemmas introduce your kids to themselves. Who they are depends on how they think, feel, and act. You can help them get the right attitude with dilemma discussions. Discussions prepare them for real life dilemmas before the bullying happens.

Today we’ll use a specific dilemma to show how to ask practical questions for a fun discussion.

Imagine a vacation drive when you and your kids are discussing the following dilemma:

What would you do if the class bully is picking on a little kid? The bully is bigger than you. The little kid is crying. Will you help the little kid? Why or why not?

From my years as a teacher and a counselor, I found that kids love to discuss dilemmas.

Here Are Some Practical Questions to Use with This Dilemma

1. How did the little boy feel?

Helping your child think about others’ feelings builds awareness in him that everyone has feelings.

2. Why would a big kid bully a little kid?

Help your child see that hurting someone smaller is shameful. We have a saying, “Pick on someone your own size.” Hurting weaker kids is nothing to be proud of.

This question helps your kids look for the bully’s inner motivation. Maybe he wants to be seen as tough and powerful because he doesn’t know how to make friends any other way.

3. What do most kids think about bullies?

Listen, some bullies are popular. Kids want to be part of the bully’s pack. They fear the bully and don’t want to be hurt. Are they cowards? Do they really like the bully?

4. Have you ever bullied?

This question helps your child to think about his own motivation. Is he the bully’s friend? Or is he the bully? Why?

5. What advice would you give to bullies?

This question tells you, straight from your child’s mouth what he really thinks. If his advice is good, remind him later of his advice when he needs it.

Conclusion about Questions to Discuss with Kids About Bullies

Adjust the questions to fit the dilemma. Having kids face problems through dilemma discussions prepares them for real problems. You can teach them to think wisely with the above 5 questions. Begin today. Use dilemmas in the car, at dinner, and at family meetings. You’ll delight in the discussions and you’ll be a bully buster too.

Take a look at Jean Tracy’s Dilemma Discussion Kit. It explains in step-by-step details exactly how to ask fun dilemma questions. It includes 51 Discussion Dilemmas too.

Jean also invites you to receive 80 Fun Activities to play with your kids when you subscribe to her free parenting newsletter plus lots of parenting giveaways at

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