Children's health (35)
- Recipes for kids: Have fun with healthy eating
- Cast care: Do's and don'ts
- New sibling: Preparing your older child
- see all in Children's health
- Child development: Know what's ahead
- Child sleep: Put preschool bedtime problems to rest
- Thumb sucking: Help your child break the habit
- see all in Preschoolers
Elementary students (12)
- Staying healthy in school: Kid-friendly tips
- Bullying: Help your child handle a school bully
- Kindergarten readiness: Is your child ready for school?
- see all in Elementary students
Bullying: Help your child handle a school bully
Warning signs of bullying
If your child is being bullied, he or she may remain quiet out of fear, shame or embarrassment. Be on the lookout for these warning signs:
- Damaged or missing clothing or other personal belongings
- Unexplained bruises or other injuries
- Few friends or close contacts
- Reluctance to go to school or ride the school bus
- Poor school performance
- Headaches, stomachaches or other physical complaints
- Trouble sleeping or eating
What to do if your child is being bullied
If you suspect that your child is being bullied, take the situation seriously:
- Encourage your child to share his or her concerns. Remain calm, listen in a loving manner and support your child's feelings. Express understanding and concern. You might say, "I understand you're having a rough time. Let's work together to deal with this." Remind your child that he or she isn't to blame for being bullied.
- Learn as much as you can about the situation. Ask your child to describe how and when the bullying occurs and who is involved. Ask if other children or adults have witnessed any bullying incidents. Find out what your child may have done to try to stop the bullying.
- Teach your child how to respond to the bullying. Don't promote retaliation or fighting back against a bully. Instead, encourage your child to maintain his or her composure. He or she might say, "I want you to stop now," and then simply walk away. Suggest sticking with a friend or group of friends while on the bus, in the cafeteria or wherever the bullying seems to happen. Remind your child that he or she can ask teachers or other school officials for help.
- Contact school officials. Talk to your child's teacher, the school counselor and the school principal. If your child has been physically attacked or otherwise threatened with harm, talk to school officials immediately to determine if the police should be involved. Don't contact the bully's parents yourself. You might also want to encourage school officials to address bullying — including cyberbullying — as part of the curriculum.
- Follow up. Keep in contact with school officials. If the bullying seems to continue, be persistent.
- Boost your child's self-confidence. Help your child get involved in activities that can raise self-esteem, such as sports, music or art. Encourage your child to build friendships and develop his or her social skills.
- Know when to seek professional help. Consider professional or school counseling for your child if his or her fear or anxiety becomes overwhelming.
If your child is being bullied, remember that early intervention can help prevent lasting problems — such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Don't leave your child to handle it alone. Your child needs your support now more than ever.Previous page
(2 of 2)
- Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention. Policy statement — Role of the pediatrician in youth violence prevention. Pediatrics. 2009;124:393.
- Kiriakidis SP, et al. Cyberbullying: A review of the literature on harassment through the Internet and other electronic means. 2010;33:82.
- The ABCs of bullying. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. http://pathwayscourses.samhsa.gov/bully/bully_fs_parents.htm. Accessed May 3, 2010.
- How can we help our child avoid being bullied? American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Avoiding-Bullying.aspx. Accessed May 3, 2010.
- Facts for families: Bullying. American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/bullying. Accessed May 3, 2010.
- Warning signs that a child is being bullied. Health Services and Resources Administration. http://stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/HHS_PSA/pdfs/SBN_Tip_7.pdf. Accessed May 3, 2010.
- Bowes L, et al. Families promote emotional and behavioural resilience to bullying: Evidence of an environmental effect. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. In press. Accessed May 3, 2010.