May 1, 2019


Bullying doesn’t always look like a playground lunch-money grab. Half of today’s kids experience “relational aggression” monthly. Here’s how to tell if your kid is being bullied, how to know whether to get involved, plus what definitely doesn’t work.

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Most of us hear “bullying” and picture a sand-kicking, lunch-money-stealing menace. But today’s bullying can take other forms. Research by Dr. Charisse Nixon shows that about 7% of kids report experiencing physical aggression once a week— but that HALF of kids report experiencing relational aggression at least once a month.

On the other hand, as bullying expert Signe Whitson explains, some things can get termed “bullying” that might be more correctly described as mean or rude. Knowing the difference as parents will help our children navigate tricky situations more effectively.

In this episode we discuss how to help our children understand what bullying is, plus how to know if our kids are being bullied themselves— since it’s the kids who are truly frightened and struggling who are often the most likely not to tell us.

We also discuss whether, how much, and in what ways parents should intervene— somewhere in the middle ground between “so find new friends!” and beating the bully up yourself. (Spoiler alert: don’t do either of those things.)

Here’s links to research and resources discussed in this episode:

Katie Hurley for Washington Post On Parenting: What does childhood anxiety look like? Probably not what you think.

Katie Hurley for PBS Kids: What to Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied

Sherri Gordon for Very Well Family: 7 Tips for Helping Kids Deal With Being Ostracized

Sumathi Reddy for WSJ: Little Children and Already Acting Mean

Signe Whitson for Huffington Post: Rude Vs. Mean Vs. Bullying: Defining The Differences

Louis Sachar: There's a Boy in The Girls' Bathroom 

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