ADHD & Bullying

What every mom, dad, and child ought to know. 

It's a fact: teasing and playful banter are unfortunate but inevitable parts of the social scheme at school. However, ADHD children, who commonly also have social skills problems, often attract more bullying than their peers.  Because they have social skills problems, they often don't know how to respond to bullying either. This can make school life very unpleasant.

On, Judith Wiener, PhD, reports the following: In a study that examined children with ADHD in third to sixth grade, 17 percent were bullies according to teacher and parent reports, 27 percent reported that they were victims of bullying, and 14 percent were both bullies and victims. The result? A whopping 58 percent of children with ADHD were involved in bullying—compared to only 14 percent of children without ADHD. A similar pattern is evident with adolescents.

Parents can teach a few basic skills that can make a world of difference. Also, proactive parents can help by shaping the school environment. It may take a little work, but it's with it.

Here are some basic strategies:

  • Teach your children to stand up to bullying without overreacting. Suggest a series of steps your child can take without escalating the problem. Start by teaching them to walk away and immediately report bullying to a teacher, or calmly respond verbally without escalating the situation.
  • Without excusing the bully's behavior, discuss how your child can make herself less of a target. Encouraging skills such as listening to her peers before responding, keeping conversations short and to the point, always keeping her hands to herself, & remembering to keep her voice at an appropriate volume level. You know your child best, so include skills you know need improvement.
  • Martial arts classes can provide self-confidence and often teach skills to cope with bullying. Simple skills like making eye-contact, standing up straight, and speaking in a clear firm voice are often taught in martial arts classes and are effective.
  • At the first sign of bullying, whether it involves your child or another, alert your child's teachers and school principal so they can take care of the situation. Follow up to be certain the matter has been addressed.
  • Another great martial arts technique is to yell, "Ouch! Stop! You're hurting me!" when bullied. This response attracts attention from nearby adults without your child coming off as a tattle tale.
  • If the school doesn't have an anti-bullying policy, ask them to establish one. You may need to attend some meetings with the school or with the PTO to assist in the development of the policy.
  • Keep an open line of daily communication with your child to stay aware of any problems.

Play Attention has a social skills program within the software that can help your child make friends and keep them! Register for our upcoming webinar to learn more.

Play Attention is sponsoring Additude Magazine's webinar, “My Child Is Being Bullied at School!”
On Wednesday, July 27, at 1 pm ET, join us for a free expert webinar with Michele Borba, Ed.D. Click here to register.