Preventing Bullying

  • Stay informed on school policies and procedures for dealing with bullying.
  • Consult with teachers, counselors, and other professionals to find out what support services are offered to students involved in bullying.
  • Connect with others in the community or through the school’s parent organization to further promote anti-bullying measures like updated policies, programs, and support.
  • Be an advocate in your actions. In questionable public situations, model how to speak up for others by asking if everything is OK or alerting authorities.
  • Communicate openly with your child, asking nonthreatening but direct questions like who they hang out with in lunch, the bus, and so forth, if there’s anyone they don’t get along with, if they have any special friends, etc.
  • Don’t just discuss academic performance when meeting with your child’s teacher, but also inquire about your child’s social tendencies, if they have established friendships, how they interact with classmates, and if there’s any related social concerns.
  • Be alert. Watch for warning signs. See below for signs your child is bullying or being bullied.
  • Encourage your child to get involved with positive activities that build healthy relationships and self-esteem.
  • Keep actively involved in your child’s activities and praise their talents.

Addressing Bullying

  • Don’t say, “Just ignore it.”
  • Tell the child it is not their fault and they don’t deserve to be treated this way.
  • Get as much detailed information from your child as possible.
  • If there is a situation at your child’s school or community, work with the school and request meetings with school staff until the issue is resolved.
  • When situations are beyond what you or the school can manage, don’t hesitate to notify law enforcement. Addressing issues legally is not easy but it can be necessary.
  • Don’t encourage your child to fight the bully, it could put him/her in physical danger and also result in disciplinary consequences.
  • Try not to let your child see you get emotional when dealing with the situation.

Possible signs of being bullied

While there may not always be obvious signs of being bullied, here are some signs that can sometimes occur:

  • Suspicious injuries, cuts, or bruises
  • Ripped, disheveled, or missing clothing
  • Tends to keep to self and have few friends
  • Withdrawn and does not participate in clubs/activities
  • Anxious when going to school
  • Stressed or upset when retuning from school
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Poor eating habits
  • Complains of headaches, stomachaches, or other ailments
  • Declined academic performance

Signs of a bully:

  • Finds violence funny or acceptable
  • Shows aggression towards others, whether parents, siblings, or adults
  • Seeks to dominate and control in social situations
  • Pushes boundaries
  • Adept at talking self out of trouble
  • Lacks sympathy towards others

What if my child is a bully?

  • Don’t excuse your child’s behavior.
  • Try to listen without judging. This will help you get to the underlying root of the problem, whether it’s the negative influence of others, personal insecurities, a disability, and so on.
  • Try to convey empathy. Discuss how the victim(s) must be feeling. Get a book or video that deals with bullying. Practice alternative ways to interact positively with others.
  • Repeatedly state your love and commitment to your child.
  • Reward positive behavior. Use verbal praise and consider developing incentives positive relationships.
  • If your efforts don’t show improvement, seek counseling from a qualified provider.