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Ask The Expert - Handling Bullies

by on 16/11/2014 4188

Question : My son is starting school soon (he’s 6). He has so far had a good experience in his preschool, but I’m a little bit apprehensive about him starting public school. The reason being, he’s a gentle soul and easily gets affected so I’m mostly afraid of bullies. While I want him to know how to stand up for himself, I’m concern myself about how to handle the situation should it happen.


Answer : Feeling apprehension and worries for your son is natural. He will go through plenty of new experiences that will mold his character and resilience. Below are some areas where parents are most worries about so if you know them and role-play with him, you will learn to “let go” for him to “learn”.

1) Social problem-solving skills:

  • Find concrete ways to teach him the skills he need to solve “youngling” problems.
  • Teach social problem-solving skills directly related to various forms of bullying—verbal, physical, and indirect.
  • Help him to understand and deal with his feelings.
  • Role-play with him to practice listening skills. Practice coming up with solutions, anticipating consequences, and evaluating the harmfulness of violent solutions.
  • Help him to understand that everyone is different and that this is something to be respected, not made fun of or simply tolerated.


2) Empathy skills:

  • Encourage him to label his own feelings and tell others (including you) how they feel about bullying and if it happens in school.
  • Discuss how some children who are bullied might feel. Explain that despite differences between people, everyone experiences certain basic feelings.
  • Remind him how he will feel in situations like those faced by others being bullied.  

3) Assertiveness skills

  • Teach him how to ask for and offer things to others in a polite and open-ended way, even if others are in refusal or rude.
  • Share with him how to use assertiveness skills to avoid submitting to bullying tactics, verbal or physical acts.
  • Teach him how to ignore routine provocative peer behaviors.
  • Role-play with him on how to use assertiveness skills to meet their goals. 

If you have any question, please email your question to (with email subject "Ask The Expert"). 

Thank you in advance for your participation. 


About The Expert

Professor Dr. Eric Lim is the founder of Kits4Kids Foundation, a foundation that specializes in the education and development of children with special needs. 


He also leads many international social enterprises all around the world. Prof. Dr. Eric Lim holds a PhD in Educational Management as well as Masters of Education, Bachelor of Special Education and Masters of Psychology, focusing on child psychology and counseling. 


He is passionate about helping as many people as he could in spreading the love for children and humanity.


Prof. Dr. Eric Lim is here to answer your questions on:

  • Childhood care (Aged infants and above)
  • Children education
  • Play tools for skills development
  • Family counseling
  • Other relevant areas