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Is your child being bullied at school?

Abbi Perets lives in Houston, TX, with her husband and five children.

Protect kids from bullies

Most kids spend more half of their waking hours in school and at extracurricular activities. You're probably not there to observe what's going on, so if your child were being bullied, would you know? Here's what to look for -- and what to do if you think your child is being picked on at school or anywhere else.

How parents can help

If your child is being bullied make sure he "understands that he must let the bully know that he doesn't like the put-downs, verbal abuse etc., and that he wants it stopped," she says. Just as important is the need for your child to report bullying to a parent, teacher, principal, or supervising adult. Don't teach kids to "just ignore it and hope it will go away. Most likely it won't," cautions Richards.

Then, make a point of actively working to build your child's self-esteem, Richards suggests. Kids with high self-esteem are much less at risk for bullying. The books, That's Bingzy Busy Building Self-Esteem by Richards and That's Bingzy Let's Talk About It: Discuss & Do Activities by Richards and Mary Taylor are designed to help build self-esteem in children. Take time to read the book, sing the songs, and discuss the activities to give your child the tools he needs to stand up to bullies.

Get the school involved. If your child tells you about a problem, don't brush it off. Talk to a teacher or principal, find out what's going on, and work with the school to create and implement a plan to stop the bullying.

Awareness is a critical part of bullying prevention. Check in with your kids regularly to make sure you know what's going on in their lives.

More tips on dealing with bullies:

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