Bullies and cliques are unfortunately sources of conflict in most grades—particularly amongst older kids. After all, "fitting in" and "standing out" are often some of the most important lessons kids learn in their education.
As parents, there's not too much you can do to shield kids from these social interactions beyond telling the teacher or principal. However, open communication with your child can help them maintain confidence and self-respect to cope with these issues.
Here are some suggestions about how to talk to your kids about dealing with bullies and cliques:
Ronjwake: Bullies like to pick on others that will not defend themselves. When a child stands up for themselves, the bully will leave them alone.
Sarajrcart: I would tell my child that bullies are just insecure and need to boost themselves by bringing you down. The best way to fight back is to remember that you are better than them, they know it, and they're just picking on you because they aren't happy about it.
Busimommi: My mom used to tell me that bullies only pick on those that have something that they themselves wished they had, because they needed something to make themselves feel better. She told me to ignore whatever they were saying, but if they tried to hurt me, to tell the teacher right away.
Elananme: I tell my daughter she must tell the teacher so that they know there is a problem and then to tell them to stop. And if they touch her she is to defend herself. She doesn't really have bullies that bother her now because they know she wont put up with it.
I also like these ideas from Kids Health about how parents can help kids cope with cliques and bullies:
- Share your own experiences of school and relationships.
- Put rejection in perspective and remind kids how quickly things can change: The girl spreading rumors about your daughter may be her best friend next week.
- Encourage healthy friendships inside and out of school.
How do you help your kids deal with bullies and cliques?