Now that your kid is venturing further into the playground and/or spending more time at daycare, they’ll eventually encounter a bully. The first step in preparing them for the interaction is to make sure they understand the difference between teasing and bullying – the former can usually be handled by teaching your kid some shut-down response moves (“If I’m a stupid head then why does your head look so stupid to everyone else?” or “What’s your point?” if you want to keep it civil). Bullies engage in a pattern of intentionally cruel behavior that asserts power over another kid. The behavior can be physical, verbal or relational, which is the insidious use of rumor and exclusion – but it all sucks. If you suspect your kid is being bullied when you’re not around, you need to make sure their caregiver is aware of the issue, since bullies have an infuriating ability to only perpetrate their cruelty when no one’s looking. And if you are around, it might be time to loosen those wedgie-giving muscles you haven’t used in a few decades.