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          Parenting

          Dealing with Bullies

          January 04, 2003

          Dr. Phil’s guest, Katie, doesn’t understand why she’s picked on by girls in the neighborhood. It’s gotten so bad that she’s even asked her mom if they can move. Dr. Phil offers some advice to Katie, her mother, and to any parent or child dealing with bullying.

          • “What they’re doing has nothing to do with you,” he says. “It’s not because you’re not fun, or you’re not a good person.” If the bullies weren’t giving Katie a hard time, they’d be doing it to someone else. It has nothing to do specifically with Katie or her value as a person.
          • Perhaps they do it to her, Dr. Phil suggests, “because they know you’re nice, and you won’t do anything mean to them.” He doesn’t want Katie to stop being nice. Instead, he tells Katie to speak to the girls individually. Call one of them on the phone at home, for example, and tell her that it’s painful to be picked on.
          • Bullies are nothing more than cowards. That’s why they often group together to pick on someone. When they’re separated, they’re gutless. That’s why dealing with people individually is crucial. When you look him/her straight in the eye, he/she will begin to shrink.
          • When explaining to a child why others are bullies, Dr. Phil says: “Some people just are real angry, so they take it out on other people.”
          • Advice for parents: Empower your children. Be assertive. Call the bullies’ parents. Be involved. Speak with your child’s teachers to make sure there’s an attitude that bullying will not be tolerated.
          • Advice for teachers: If one child is getting bullied, it needs to be everybody’s business. Instill a value system in the classroom and on the playground that someone who sits silently and watches a bully is as guilty as the bully himself. Keep a spirit of inclusion — and enforce it.

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