Ask an Educator | My son is bullied because of his weight. How can I help stop this?

July 31, 2013

One of Mentoring Minds’ Facebook friends submitted the following question for our educators to answer.

Beverly Collins, Educational Consultant, Mentoring Minds

Q: My son gets bullied on a daily basis for being the heaviest kid in his class, and I teach at the school! Please help me figure out how to stop it!

A: Answered by Educational Consultants, Beverly Collins, M.Ed and Sandra Love, Ed.D.

Ideas that may help as you develop a plan for home:

  • Hold conversations with your son about what is causing him to fight. This will send the message that you are there for him and that he can come and talk to you when he faces a challenge.
  • Talk with the school counselor to make him or her aware of the problems. Ask if there is a “bullying policy” in the school and how the school addresses bullying problems within school policy.
  • Encourage your son to refrain from engaging in power struggles that might lead to fighting. Tell him it is best to retreat from a situation if he is frustrated or angry. Walk away when possible. (Some bullies enjoy making others react. This makes the bully more aggressive.)
  • Tell your son to report bullying. Bullies should not be allowed to continue their negative behaviors. Students have the right to be safe in school.
  • Provide your son with some responses to bullies, such as “ Oh, that is your opinion. I disagree.” or a firm, “You are acting like a bully.”
  • Role play situations that might occur. Have your son practice how he might deal with bullying situations. This will help him be prepared when he faces challenging situations.
  • Encourage your son to try his best to refrain from placing himself in unsupervised areas at school. Encourage him to find a buddy and move from place to place with friends.
  • Most of all help your son find ways to build self-esteem. Let him know that you are his “number 1” advocate.
  • Show support to your son and reassure him that together you will work on a solution.
  • If your child informs you he wishes to lose weight, focus on becoming healthy, not just losing pounds. Work on how.
  • Explain that bullying is always wrong. Never make fun of people because of how they look as we are all different.
  • Teach and practice specific strategies:
  • Count to ten to stay calm and look the bully in the eye.
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