How can I support my child if he or she is bullied at school?
A nationally representative U.S. study shows that 17 percent of all students reported having been bullied "sometimes" or more often within a school term. This amounts to almost one in five students. And, for every case reported to school officials, there are many more bullied students who suffer in silence.
As a parent, you may suspect your child is being bullied. If you are not quite sure, review these common signs to help you recognize if bullying is occurring. Your child may:
- come home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings
- have unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches from fighting
- have few, if any, friends with whom he or she spends time
- seem afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part in organized activities with
- peers (such as clubs or sports)
- take a long, "illogical" route when walking to or from school
- lose interest in school work or suddenly begin to do poorly in school
- appear sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home
- complain frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or other physical problems
- have trouble sleeping or frequent bad dreams
- experience a loss of appetite
- appear anxious and suffer from low self-esteem
Read more about how bullying affects children.Avoid blaming your child for the harassment. Think twice before giving advice - your child may have already tried the strategies you are going to suggest. Get as much information as you can. Talk with your child’s teacher, principal, or counselor and ask them to help your child be safe. Their intervention may include consequences for the bully, increased supervision, and helping your child make more friends if he or she is isolated. Ask your child what she has already tried to resolve the problem. Praise her for all the things she has tried. Give him permission to stop doing the things that haven't worked to stop the bullying. Encourage him to keep telling you and other adults. Help him to think about what has worked- or what might work. If your child is isolated, help her make connections through activities, hobbies, or clubs.
- Prevent Cyberbullying
- Technology and Youth: Protecting your Child from Electronic Aggression (PDF) For bullying and harassment using social media (such as Facebook, MySpace, Tumblr and Formspring), parents can follow the social media site's "Help" link to report abuse or policy violations such as imposter accounts, bullying, hate speech, pornography, etc.
- Help Your Intellectually Disabled Child Handle Bullying
- Bullying of Children with Special Needs
- Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN): Anti-Bullying Resources
- Bullying Prevention for Parents (podcast)
- How to talk with educators at your child's school about bullying
Get advice on how to communicate with teachers and other leaders at your child's school if you're dealing with bullying.
- Tips for parents: What to do if your child is being bullied
- Tips for parents: What to do if your child bullies others
- Tips for parents: What to do if your child witnesses bullying
- What can parents do to prevent and address cyber-bullying?
- Advocate for a bullying prevention program at your school