Bullying:  Tips for Parents

Source: Committee for Children
Topics: Helping Your Child with Bullying

1. Encourage your child to report bullying incidents to you. 

  • Validate your child's feelings by letting him/her know that it is normal to feel hurt, sad, scared, angry, etc.  
  • Let your child know that s/he has made the right choice by reporting the incident(s) to you and assure your child that s/he is not to blame.  
  • Help your child be specific in describing bullying incidents: who, what, where, when. (Look for patterns or evidence of repeated bullying behaviors.)

2. Ask your child how s/he has tried to stop the bullying.

3. Coach your child in possible alternatives. 

  • Avoidance is often the best strategy.
    • Play in a different place.  
    • Play a different game.  
    • Stay near a supervising adult when bullying is likely to occur.
  • Look for ways to find new friends. 
    • Support your child by encouraging him/her to extend invitations for friends to play at your home or to attend activities.  
    • Involve your child in social activities outside of school.

4. Treat the school as your ally. 

  • Share your child's concerns and specific information about bullying incidents with appropriate school personnel.  
  • Work with school staff to protect your child from possible retaliation.  
  • Establish a plan with the school and your child for dealing with future bullying incidents.

5. Encourage your child to seek help and to report bullying incidents to someone s/he feels safe with at the school: 

  • Adult in charge of a specific activity or area (such as the playground, lunchroom, field trips, bus lines, gym, classroom)  
  • Teacher  
  • Counselor  
  • Principal

6. Use school personnel and other parents as resources in finding positive ways to encourage respectful behaviors at school. 

  • Volunteer time to help supervise on field trips, on the playground, or in the lunchroom.  
  • Become an advocate for schoolwide bullying prevention programs and policies.

7. Encourage your child to continue to talk with you about all bullying incidents. 

  • Do not ignore your child's report.  
  • Do not advise your child to physically fight back. (Bullying lasts longer and becomes more severe when children fight back. Physical injuries often result.)  
  • Do not confront the child who bullies.  
  • Do not confront the family of the child who bullies.

See our other resources: 

Reprinted with the permission of the Committee for Children. © 2007 Committee for Children.