Bullying: What Parents Can Do

Thursday Mar 01st, 2018


Bullying can be a serious problem for children.  But often it’s not obvious to their parents, and even when it becomes clear, stopping it isn’t easy.  Here’s what to look for, and what to do about it:

What To Look For:

· Decline in school performance.

· Reluctance to go to school.

· Unexplained bruises or torn clothing.

· Difficulty sleeping.

· Complaints of headaches, stomach aches, or other physical problems.

· Excessive moodiness or depression.

· Lack of friends or social activities.

What To Do:

First, talk to your child.  Maintain open lines of communication by asking what happened at school that day and showing interest in his or her activities.  Encourage your child to open up when something seems wrong.  Listen attentively, and don’t downplay real concerns.  Ask for details – what happened, who was involved, who else saw it, and so on.

Talk to the school.  Contact your child’s teacher and principal if you believe bullying is going on.  Because bullying frequently takes place out of adults’ sight, they may not know what’s happening.  Explain the situation and ask for their help.  In many cases they’ll be able to help resolve things.

Teach children how to respond.  Don’t suggest retaliation, but do talk over some coping strategies, such as telling the bully “I don’t like this,” and walking away, or yelling “No!” or “Stop!” and then going to an adult for help.  Role-play some of the most common scenarios with your child to help him or her get comfortable with the response.

Do what you can to boost your child’s self-confidence.  That might mean giving them the opportunity to join a club or sports team outside of school; taking lessons in something they really enjoy and want to excel at, like painting or skateboarding; and reminding your child that you’re in their corner.  Being more confident can help a child avoid being chosen as a victim.


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