How to Help Your Kids Cope with Differences and Bullying

As I stated before in this post (How to Help Kids with Learning Disabilities) my daughter has Conductive Hearing Loss in her left ear and struggles with Auditory Processing Disorder because of it.  

Unfortunately, she has been behind in her grade level since she first started school and we fought for her to get an IEP since she was in first grade.  Because of the struggles that she had in her old school, she has had to deal with bullying from a young age and kids often questioned her about why she couldn’t accomplish things that other kids could.

When we moved and switched schools she finally was able to get an IEP and is now doing much better, but she still has to deal with some bullying and questions about her disability.  What many kids don’t understand is that all children and families are different and bullying is unacceptable, but some kids still criticize.


Teach kids that being different is okay

Teaching kids that being different is okay from a very young age can help them be more accepting of others in the future.  Let kids know that they will meet children of all different nationalities and abilities, teach them that every family situation is different.  Once they know that everybody has differences they’ll be less likely to bully others and will try to build others up instead of putting them down.

I’ve always taught my girls that everyone’s differences are what make them special and individuals.  They know that they can learn so much from how different other children are.  If a child is a different nationality they can possibly learn a new language or about a new culture, if a child has physical differences they will be able to learn that accomplishing certain things may be a challenge, but it’s possible!

 

Always be encouraging and positive

If your child is facing a difficult situation because of being different or having a disability, be positive instead of angry because of that situation.  If you show negativity or hostility due to your child being bullied your child will learn to feel that as well.  Always show your child that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that they can face that bully or situation head-on.

When my girls are bullied I try to keep my anger and frustration inside and I talk to them about how to cope with the bullying.  I explain to them that bullies, most likely, aren’t happy with their own lives and feel the need to put other children down to feel better about themselves.

 

Help your child learn to cope with bullying

When your child is being bullied it’s essential to teach them how to cope with the bullying that they’re facing.  Teach your children to be assertive to their bullies but not mean. They can combat bullying with:

“Everyone is different.” or “I would like you to please stop, it hurts my feelings.”

My girls use these to combat bullying and it shows the bullies that their words aren’t completely affecting my girls.  Bullies want to get a rise out of another child and when they see that they aren’t getting a rise out of another child they will stop.

I also let my girls know to explain their differences.  Whenever my youngest gets made fun of because of her difficulty she explains her differences to the children.  She lets them know that she can’t hear very well and has a learning issue due to her hearing.  At their age (10) they become understanding and usually stop making fun of her.

 

Make sure your kids know that they can speak to you

The most important thing is that your kids know that they can come to you whenever they’re having a difficulty.  My girls know that they can speak to me about absolutely anything and we have a very open relationship.  Every parent should have a very open relationship with their child and should never condemn or speak negatively to a child that is having a difficulty.  While that sounds like it’s common sense, I’ve heard some parents really put their own kids down because of being bullied and that’s terrible.  As parents, we are here to encourage our children and let them know that they’re not alone.

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