|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Neighborhood Bullies

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My 8-year-old daughter feels intimidated by a couple of 11-year-old girls. It's not just simple teasing -- the girls tell my daughter they will punch her in the face -- and their parents won't do anything about it. There are also several parents in our neighborhood who have threatened me with bodily harm. I called the police, but they won't do anything. How do I handle this?

A: Everyone should have the right to feel safe in their neighborhood, and it's a shame that you and your daughter do not. It sounds like you have already tried talking to the parents of the girls, which should always be the first step.

Make sure that your daughter knows some strategies to deal with bullies (ignore them; use "I" messages such as, "I don't like it when you threaten me -- Please stop"; and go to an adult for help). You may want to either walk with your daughter yourself or ask a teenager or another adult to walk with her when she must go near those two girls.

You could take out a restraining order requiring that the parents and the girls stay away from you and your daughter. Go to your police station and ask them the process for doing that in your area. You may also want to talk with a lawyer about other ways you could get help through the legal system. If you are in a neighborhood or an apartment house with a neighborhood or tenant association, ask that group for help with this as well.

Although it's impossible for many people, the police and the courts have advised some people in situations like yours to simply move away.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Earth Day Books for Children
Celebrate the environment by reading some of these great children's books about Earth Day, recycling, planting trees, and all things green!

Prom Dress Trends for 2014
Check out 2014 prom dress trends inspired by celebrities’ red carpet looks, but with a price tag under $100!