Bullies know what they’re doing. The problem is, kids with ADHD and their parents don’t know how to stop it.
Bullies pick on kids with ADHD because they stand out. The kids who are an easy target. The kids who are easily angered or agitated when routines change. It isn’t happening by chance. Bullies enjoy pushing the buttons of kids who are different. Kids who typically don’t stand up for themselves, or don’t have many friends to intervene.
Kids being mistreated are almost always caught between wanting to fight back in some way and not wanting to make their problems worse by being labeled a snitch.
So they remain quiet. It’s a heartbreaking, relentless cycle.
For parents of kids who travel a different journey, it is important to be their advocate and give them some tools to help stop the problem. Parents need to intervene. Moms and Dads should meet with teachers, asking ‘What can WE do?’ You & the teacher must work as a team for the well-being of the child. Kids being bullied need to know they aren’t alone, and should put all of the tactics below in to action. Print them off!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IF YOU WORRY YOUR CHILD IS A TARGET
- Avoiding school/Wanting to stay home
- Can’t sleep
- Toys or money missing from home (being forced to give them up)
WHAT TO DO
Bullying often happens on playgrounds or restrooms where supervision is minimal. Go with a buddy. Ask that buddy to speak up if they witness a problem. Knowing someone, even if it’s one person, has their back boosts confidence.
Have a backup plan for the child so they immediately know what to do when bullying occurs. Report to an adult, any adult, such as a teacher, school nurse, even the janitor! Open a line of communication with the school counselor so they are aware of concerns if your child needs to speak to them during the day.
Teaching our kids about strong body language as early as 3 years old can prevent teasing in the future. Kids who bury hands in pockets, don’t make eye contact with head down, shoulders slumped, etc stand out. A recent elementary school study on bullying showed kids with weak body language were targeted more than others.
Teach your child words that will send a clear message to the bully. Young children are often afraid to say anything, but responding with a phrase such as ‘CUT IT OUT‘ can be powerful. Rehearsing the line and role-playing helps prepare kids to use the phrase when necessary.
As a parent, our most important job is ensuring the safety of our children. Establish an open-door policy with your son or daughter in an effort to keep them talking when problems arise. The sooner they report, the less likely the bullying will escalate. Children need to know they have an ally in Mom and Dad. You’re their safe zone.
Start the dialogue now.