Q: We have a very thoughtful and compassionate 12 year old boy who loves to play in sports teams. The dilemma is that he’s not very confident athletically, and because of this, his teammates tend to make fun of him. I guess it's the proverbial "bully" situation, but I'm at a loss as to how we can handle this?
A: People who bully crave the attention and power. Generally, it’s best to ignore or avoid a bully and not give the attention she or he craves. But this tactic can be harder to achieve on a sports team because your son might be dealing with a group of bullies and needs to interact with them.
First, you could help your son learn how to respond to the bullying in an assertive way by doing some role-playing at home. Encourage you son to respond to the person by looking them directly in the eye and using a clear sounding powerful voice and say things like: "What's your point?" Ask your son who, what, why, where, when, and how questions relating to the circumstances. The more you practice, the more confident he will become in handling the situations on his own.
Second, when it comes to sports bullying, it’s important to involve the coach. Be clear with the coach about your expectations: having a safe environment for your child to learn how to play on a team and build self-esteem. Hopefully your son’s coaches share these same expectations. If, however, the coach isn’t cooperating, you might need to consider approaching someone above the coach, like a principal.
- Answer from proexpert37, a Life Coach on JustAnswer