Bullying is not a normal rite of passage. It can have serious
consequences. You can help your children learn how to prevent
Help your children understand that bullying is more than
physical. It can happen in person or over the phone or computer.
Keep open lines of communication with your children. Listen to
any concerns about friends and other students.
Encourage your children to pursue their interests. Doing what
they love may help your children be more confident among their
peers and make friends with others with similar interests.
Teach your children to take a stand against bullying. Tell them
how to stand up to those who bully if it is safe to do so.
Talk to your children about seeking help from a trusted adult
when feeling threatened by a bully. Talk about whom they
should go to for help and role-play what they should say. Assure
your children that they should not be afraid to tell an adult when
someone they know is being bullied.
Know what is going on in your children’s schools. Visit the
school websites, read the student paper if there is one, and join
the parent organization listserv or mailing list. Get to know other
parents, school counselors, and staff. Contact the school by
phone or e-mail if you have suggestions for making the school a
safer and better learning place.
If you suspect your children are being bullied, consider these
Express your concern and make it clear that you want to help.
Tell your children that bullying is wrong, that it is not their fault,
and that you are glad they had the courage to tell you about it.
Work together to find solutions. Ask your children what they
think can be done to help. Reassure them that the situation can
be handled privately.
Document ongoing bullying. Work with your children to keep a
record of all bullying incidents. If it involves cyberbullying, keep
a record of all messages or postings.
Help your children develop strategies and skills for handling
bullying. Provide suggestions for ways to respond to bullying,
and help your children gain confidence by rehearsing their
Be persistent. Bullying may not be resolved overnight.
Stay vigilant to other possible problems that your children
may be having. Some of the warning signs for bullying may be
signs of other serious problems. Share your concerns with the
counselors at your children’s schools.
If you think that your children may be bullying others, work with your
children’s schools to address the issues. Remember that children who bully
are at high risk for engaging in risky or even criminal behaviors, and it is
very important in a bullying situation for the parents to act immediately.
Talk with your children. Ask for their account of any situation for which
they have been accused of bullying. Be objective and listen carefully.
Make it clear to your children that you take bullying seriously. Calmly let
them know that you will not tolerate this behavior. Help your children
learn that bullying hurts everyone involved.
Develop clear and consistent rules for your children’s behavior. Praise
your children when they follow the rules. Decide on fair consequences
and follow through if your children break the rules.
Spend more time with your children. Carefully supervise and monitor
their activities, including when they are online or texting.
Be aware of who your children consider to be their friends. Find out how
they spend their free time.
Build on your children’s talents and positive attributes. Encourage them
to get involved in well-supervised social activities.
Work with your children’s schools to ensure the bullying does not happen
again. Ask your children’s teachers to keep you informed. Develop
strategies together to send clear messages to your children, and all
students, that bullying must stop.
Talk with a school counselor or health professional. They may be able to
provide your children with additional help.
This information has been prepared and printed with permission of the National School Public Relations Association, Judy McDaniel and StopBullying.gov.