Children of the same age grow at different rates. It can be more evident when they’re in the fifth and sixth grades. With growing sophistication and peer group pressures, the tallest and strongest ones often emerge as leaders in the playground and after-school social gatherings.
Smaller children are at a disadvantage in dealing with the situation, and can become objects of bullying. As it happens, it should be the responsibility of both school authorities and parents to discourage bullying in general.
However, it’s impossible for adults to protect all children at all times from being bullied. Parents of potential bullies must instruct their children in decent and considerate behavior with others and discourage bullying. When those children disobey, parents and school authorities should apply appropriate punishments.
For those children who may become victims of bullying, parents must help them find ways to avoid being bullied. There are several routes they can take.
1. Don’t look like a likely victim. Hold your head high when you walk, and look your most confident at all times. No matter what the child’s size, bullies tend to go after children who are very shy, avoid eye contact and are visibly afraid.
2. Stay in good shape. If you look like you can handle yourself in a fight, even the biggest bullies will avoid tangling with you. Even if you’re not a natural athlete, participate in games and do the very best you can. Bullies respect those who aren’t afraid to get into the middle of a roughhouse or active game.
3. Be part of the gang. Join a group of positive children who have your same values of scholarship and fair play. There’s always protection in numbers. Bullies love to single out loners for ridicule and abuse.
4. If a bully challenges you with nose-to-nose confrontation, don’t fade away. Don’t be intimidated. Stand there and stare back. You’ll be surprised how many times bullies back away when their challenges are met with determination.
Once a bully knows you’ll slink off, you can expect it to happen again whenever a show-off bully has an audience. On the other hand, if you take bullies away from their gang for a one-on-one confrontation, it’s often the bully who will slink off.
5. Realize that bullying is just a temporary glitch in your young life. The bullies will soon fade away. Don’t let them affect your personality and ambitions as you go on to high school, college and a career.
While you’re in school, you have many more positive things to do than worry about bullies. This is a very important time in your life, and you should enjoy every experience it brings.