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Help! My Child is Being Bullied

Top 10 Tips to Share with Your Children:

1. Educate your child about bullying.

There are several forms of bullying including physical, emotional, verbal, indirect, and cyberbullying. By educating your child about the different types of bullying, they will be able to spot when it is occurring and be able to describe it when asking for help.

2. It is not their fault that they are being bullied.

Kids may feel that they did something to cause the bullying. They may feel embarrassed by telling an adult, so make sure to remind them that bullying is a choice. The bully has the responsibility of engaging in bullying behaviors, not the victim.

3. Tell your children it took courage for them to tell you.

There are several reasons why kids choose to keep being bullied to themselves. For example they may think that reporting it will make it worse, that adults will not do anything about it, or they are scared to tell anyone. Therefore, it is important that you encourage your children to open up and discuss what is happening. Praise them for speaking up and acknowledging how difficult it must have been for them.

4. Encourage your children to seek out help from an adult.

As the parent, you may not always be around when the bullying is happening. It is important to encourage your child to ask an adult (teacher, counselor, principal, or coach) for help.

5. Tell your children that they are not alone in this.

Children may feel that no one else can relate to their experience of being bullied. Thousands of children are bullied each year in school. Tell your child that they are not the only ones who experience this and that together they will find ways to help stop the bullying.

6. Encourage your child not to retaliate.

It is important to tell your child that retaliating with physical aggression or another form of aggressive behavior will not make the bullying stop. The child may then get in trouble for fighting. It is better for the child to stay calm and either stand up assertively or seek help from friends or adults.

7. Tell your child to keep a report of when the bullying is happening.

Encourage your child to keep a report of how often the bullying occurs, when it occurs, where it usually happens, who is usually involved, if anyone has witnessed the bullying, etc. This will be helpful when bringing the bullying to the school’s attention.

8. Tell your child to stay around their friends and avoid isolation if possible.

Bullying may happen when the child is alone. Encourage your child to be around friends and avoid being isolated from their support system. Having supportive friends around can give your child confidence to stand up assertively to the bully or deter the bully from attacking your child.

9. Teach you child to respond assertively and not aggressively to bullying.

Research shows that it is more effective to stand up to a person who is bullying with an assertive stance and voice rather than an aggressive one. Assertive responses are more likely to defuse the situations, while aggressive responses will more likely make the situation worse. See the “Assertive vs. Aggressive” article for examples.

10. Tell your child to take the bullying seriously and not ignore it.

It is important to tell your child that bullying is a serious situation that does not need to be ignored. By showing that the situation is important, it will help your child feel more comfortable sharing their experience with you or another adult.

Things to avoid:

1. Do not blame the child for being bullied.

2. Do not overreact.

3. Do not tell the child to ignore the bullying.

4. Do not encourage the child to fight back physically or verbally. This usually only makes things worse.


BeSAFE Curriculum