Social skills training and self-awareness can help kids avoid bullies.
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense, so helping your child avoid bullies can be just as successful as teaching strategies to put a stop to bullying behavior that is already taking place. It’s no secret that kids with learning and behavioral disorders like ADHD are often easy targets for bullies. Some kids with ADHD lack proper social skills and may unintentionally behave in a way that invites the attention of bullies. If your child struggles with social skills, find below 6 tips from Dr. Robert Melillo, creator of The Brain Balance Program, to help your child improve social interactions and avoid bullies . He recently shared these tips and strategies with ADDitude Magazine:
- Explain to your child what ADHD is and tell him that there’s nothing "wrong" with him. Find out whether he is aware of his social behaviors. Some kids may understand ADHD symptoms, but are unable to control their words and actions. Others are blind to their behaviors.
- Ask your child what was happening right before the bullying started and what he might do differently next time to avoid it. This will help your child figure out what triggered the bully to act. The less aware the child is, the harder it is to change his behavior.
- Give your child some verbal tools to defuse the bully. Your child might say with a smile, “OK, you’re the winner — you win, I lose,” and walk away. Bullies love arguments, so a little indifference takes the wind out of their sails.
- Videotape your child during play dates then play it back for her to help teach her what social behaviors she may need to change.
- Because bullying often takes place during sporting activities, especially team sports, it may be better for a child with ADHD to participate in individual sports like rollerblading, skateboarding, skiing, bike riding, cross country running, and gymnastics. Body coordination is essential for brain development, so athletics will help your child build strength and confidence.
- Be patient with your child. Many children with ADHD have unusual talents, and you should help your child explore and develop these gifts. To avoid behaviors that may make other children angry or annoyed, explain it this way: “There are things you are great at and things you are a little behind in. Let’s work together on the things you're behind in.” You will discover that, most of the time, children with ADHD are eager to improve their behaviors.
All of us at Brain Balance Achievement Centers are committed to helping children connect with success in their academic and personal lives. Consider sharing this article to help us promote social skills and self-awareness so kids with ADHD can avoid bullies and feel empowered to control their own behavior.