Stop Bullying Now!
What Should I do If I'm Bullied?
What is Bullying?
Bullying happens when someone hurts or scares another person on purpose. The person being bullied has a hard time defending himself or herself. Bullying is repeated, meaning it happens over and over.
Sometimes bullying is easy to notice, such as with hitting or name calling. Other times it's hard to see, like leaving a person out or saying mean things behind someone's back. Both boys and girls bully, and both boys and girls get bullied. Bullying is not fair, and it hurts.
How to Deal With Bullying:
- Tell your parents or another trusted adult. They can help stop the bullying.
- If you are being bullied at school, tell your teacher, school counselor, or principal. Telling is NOT tattling.
- Don't fight back. Don't try to bully those who bully you.
- Try not to show fear or anger. Students who bully like to see that they can upset you.
- Calmly tell the student to stop... or say nothing and walk away.
- Use humor, if this is easy for you to do. (For example, if a student makes fun of your clothing, laugh and say, "Yeah, this is a funny-looking shirt!")
- Try to avoid situations in which bullying is likely to happen. You might want to
- Avoid areas of the school where there aren't many students or teachers around.
- Make sure you aren't alone in the bathroom or locker room.
- Sit near the front of the bus.
- Don't bring expensive things or lots of money to school.
- Sit with a group of friends at lunch.
- Take a different route through hallways or walk with friends or a teacher to your classes.
What to Do if Your Child is Being Bullied
What is Bullying?
Bullying among children is aggressive behavior that is intentional and involves an imbalance of power or strength. A child who is being bullied has a hard time defending himself or herself. Bullying is repeated over time. Bullying can take many forms, such as hitting or punching (physical); teasing or name calling (verbal); intimidation using gestures or social exclusion (emotional); and sending insulting text messages, email, or facebook posts (cyberbullying).
Effects of Bullying
Bullying can have serious consequences. Children who are bullied are more likely than other children to
Reporting Bullying to Parents
Children frequently do not tell their parents they are being bullied becaus they are embarrassed, ashamed, frightened of the bully, or afraid of being a "tattler." If your child tells you about being bullied; it has taken a lot of courage to do so. Your child needs your help to stop the bullying.
What to do if Your Child is Being Bullied
First, focus on your child. Be supportive and gather information about the bullying.
- Never tell your child to ignore the bullying. What the child may "hear" is that you are going to ignore it. If the child were able is simply ignore it, he or she likely would not have told it. Often, trying to ignore bullying allows it to become more serious.
- Don't blame the child who is being bullied. Don't assume that your child did something to provoke the bullying. Don't say, "What did you do to aggravate the other child?"
- Listen carefully to what your child tells you about the bullying. Ask him or her to describe who was involved and how and where each bullying episode happened.
- Empathize with your child. Tell him/her that bullying is wrong, not their fault, and that you are glad he or she had the courage to tell you about it. Ask your child what he or she thinks can be done to help. Assure him or her that you will think about what needs to be done and you will let him or her know what you are going to do.
- Do not encourage physical retaliation ("Just him them back!") as a solution. Hitting another student is not likely to end the problem, and it could get your child suspended or expelled or escalate the situation.
- Check your emotions. A parent's protective instincts stir strong emotions. Although it is difficult, a parent is wise to step back and consider the next steps carefully
Contact your child's teacher or principal.
- Parents are often reluctant to report bullying to school officials, but bullying may not stop without the help of adults.
- Keep your emotions in check. Give factual information about your child's experience of being bullied including who, what, when, where, and how.
- Do not contact the parents of the student(s) who bullied your child. This is usually a parent's first response, but sometimes it makes matters worse. School officials should contact the parents of the child who did the bullying
Help Your Child Become More Resilient to Bullying
- Ask yourself if your child is being bullied because of a learning difficulty or lack of social skills? If your child is hyperactive, impulsive, or overly talkative, the child who bullies may be reacting out of annoyance. This doesn't make it right, but may explain why the bullying is occuring. If your child easily irritates people, seek help from a counselor so your child can better learn the informal social rules of his or her peer group.
- Home is where the heart is. Make sure your child has a safe and loving home environment where he or she can take shelter, physically and emotionally. Always maintain open lines of communication with your child.
- Teach your child how to make friendly contact with students in his or her class.
- Help to develop positive attributes or talents of your child. Doing so may help your child be more confident among his or her peers.
Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying At School: What we know and what we can do. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
Snyder, J.M. (February, 2003). What Parents Can Do About Childhood Bullying. Schwab learning Center, (www.schwablearning.org) Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation. Retrieved August 12, 2005, from http://www.schwablearning.org/articles.asp?r=697
What Parents Should Know about Bullying (2002). Prevention Child Abuse America Publication. South Deerfield, MA. (1-800-835-2671.)
These and other materials are available online at www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov