Advice: Bullying, Social Skills, and Friendship

Video and Audio

FOX 25 Boston
Combatting bullying in public schools


Male Role Models / Rise of Bullying / Competition in Sports
The Jordan Rich Show, CBS Boston - WBZ NewsRadio 1030


Name-Calling: Is it the start of Bullying in Young Children?
Article by Dr. Rao, Excerpt

Name-calling is a difficult behavior for parents to change, particularly in young, active boys. But its a problem among all kids and at all ages. The challenge is that name-calling is a very frequent behavior (it can occur at any time of day, and up to 20-30 plus times a day), and because its frequent, it slips by our radar screens. Many episodes don't get addressed. After a while, they become routine to young children, and the adults around them.

. . . Stop using words or warnings or lectures about why name-calling is not nice. They know its wrong. Verbal reminders and lectures don't work, particularly on boys. For boys, when they experience a spatial change (like going to another part of the room or having an object removed) they notice and can more easily shift their behavior. Read More.

Wait Your Turn!
Article by Dr. Rao, Excerpt

In a boy's world, telling a teacher, and not relying on oneself to fight off another guy's intimidation, is tantamount to wearing a pink tutu in gym.

We may not like hearing that. We would like to believe that boys can learn to navigate the rules of society better, seek out an authority figure to help manage disagreements, and in time they do, but for years to come, this is the way guys like Sam, and his alpha-leaning foes think. Read More.

"The Way of Boys"
Book by Dr. Rao and Michelle Seaton, Excerpt (p.30)

Questions about social issues are common in my practice. Parents are highly concerned about whether their sons are maturing with the right mix of social skills to achieve success and happiness later in life. Some parents complain that their sons are bullies or show-offs, that they can't share and take turns, that they claim that everyone hates them. Moms tell me all the time they envision their young sons still hitting others or refusing to share twenty years from now, or perhaps sitting alone and friendless.

They ask me: "What's he going to be like when he grows up?" They envision their adult sons hitting other kids in a dorm room or cubicle or being the loner at work.

This concern is definitely something that has increased over the past two decades. Standards to achieve and fit in at school and day care are at an all-time high. Parents have been told that boys have to be social high achievers early in life in order to be successful later. From that, many people assume that their children have to be socially adept early on to be considered normal. Quirky kids need not apply to day care, preschool, and playgroups anymore. Boys who are on the shy or aggressive side temperamentally or who are having a temporary developmental glitch are more likely to be evaluated for disorders such as Asperger's and autism, ADHD, even bipolar disorder. Parents are understandably worried about these trends.

The first thing I tell most parents is that their sons are probably doing just fine socially, if we're talking about the parameters of normal behavior. Book Info.