Friend Vs. Bully- What You Should Be Teaching Your Child

Have you ever talked to your child about friendship and how friends should treat each other?  If not, you might want to after reading this...

I have two close girlfriends that have five girls between them, ranging in age from 6 to sixteen. The stories I've heard over the years from the two of them about girl drama reminds me why I've almost completely blacked out my preteen and early teenage years. Kids are cruel.

Thier girls have repeatedly been caught in girl-group drama with their friends, and it never fails there's a bitchy ringleader parading as a friend, who clearly is not. One is being treated like crap by a "friend" who's jealous she made the cheerleading team, while another is being excluded from her regular group of girls because she's not obsessed with short skirts, make-up, and boys--She's just crossed into the teenage years and, thankfully, is not boy crazy yet, however, the dynamic of her friendships are changing, causing constant issues.

This fall when Ollie started Kindergarten, I quickly realized bad friends and bully issues aren't just girl-problems. Boys are just as nasty to each other. Since starting Kindergarten, my son has been bullied by a fourth-grade girl a fifth-grade boy, regularly picked on by a girl in his class, and had repeated issues with a boy in his class who was downright mean to Ollie, including knocking him down on the playground, twice.

Needless to say, I wanted to rip Oliver out of school and homeschool him at least once a week the first half of the year. Resisting my need to be a helicopter mom, I sent him back the next morning hoping he'd have a better day.

I honestly never thought I would have so many issues having a son! As usual, my preconceived pre-mom-ideas were way off. Bad friends, bullies and mean kids come in all ages, shapes and sizes. Seeing my child intentionally hurt by another young child is heartbreaking on so many levels.

It seems almost silly to have to talk to your child about how to recognize when a friend is actually not a friend, but it's necessary. Young children especially have a hard time understanding what friendship is, and the difference between friends, classmates, acquaintances, a grumpy child having a bad day and a downright bully. 

Please, have this conversation with your child. I promise this is one of those conversations that leaves you both feeling good you had it.

Conversation starters:

What do you think the word friendship means?
Who are your friends?
How do friends make you feel?
What do you do to be a good friend?

April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit