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Tips for Parents

1. DON’T tell your child to “get in there and fight”. This will only make matters worse.

2. DON’T blame your child. Bullying is never the victim’s fault.

3. Contact your child’s teacher as soon as possible. Request a private meeting without other students around.  Ask for the teacher’s perspective; she may know of things about the bullying that you don’t.  Stay calm and be respectful; your child’s teacher wants to help.

4. Remember: It takes time to resolve bullying problems.  Try to be patient. The school will need to talk with your child, talk with the bully, talk with other children who may have witnessed the bullying, and then decide what’s best to do for everyone involved.

5. Make a real effort to spend more positive time with your child than you already do. Praise your child as often as possible. Give your child opportunities to do well.  Encourage them to talk about their feelings.

6. Help your child develop bully resistance skills. Role-play with your child what to say and do when confronted by a bully: here are a few starter ideas:

  • Stand up straight, look the bully in the eye, and say in a firm, confident voice, “Leave me alone!” or “Stop that! I don’t like that!”

  • Tell a joke or say something silly. (Don’t make fun of the bully.)

  • Stay calm and walk away.  If possible, walk toward a crowded place or a group of your friends.

  • Tell an adult.

7. Consider enrolling your child in a class on assertiveness skills, friendship skills, or self-defense. Self-defense classes aren’t about being aggressive.  They’re about avoiding conflict through self-discipline, self-control, and improved self-confidence.

8. If your child seems to lack friends, arrange for him or her to join social groups or organizations that meet is or her interests. This will boost your child’s self-confidence and develop his or her social skills.  Bullying is less likely to occur if your child is confident and has good social skills.

9. Consider whether your child might be doing something that encourages bullies to pick on him or her.  Is there a behavior your child needs to change?  Bullying is not something any child deserves, but sometimes kids don’t help themselves.  Watch how your child interacts with others.  Ask your child’s teachers for their insights and suggestions.

10. Remember that you are your child’s most important teacher.  Discipline at home should be fair, consistent, age-appropriate, and respectful.  Parents who can’t control their temper are teaching their children that it’s okay to yell, scream, and use physical violence to get their way. 

11. Visit the website

How bullying can affect individuals:

  • Feeling guilty like it is your fault

  • Feeling hopeless and stuck like you can’t get out of the situation

  • Feeling alone, like there is no one to help you

  • Feeling like you don’t fit in with the cool group

  • Feeling depressed and rejected by your friends and other groups of people

  • Feeling unsafe and afraid

  • Feeling confused and stressed out wondering what to do and why this is happening to you

  • Feeling ashamed that this is happening to you

Not stopping or challenging bullying can create an environment where bullying is okay and where everyone feels powerless to stop it.

Why do people bully others?

People bully for different reasons. Those who bully persistently are likely to do so in order to dominate others and improve their social status. They may have high self-esteem, show little regret for their bullying behavior and not see bullying as morally wrong.

Other people may bully out of anger or frustration, they may struggle socially and could have also been victims of bullying. 

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