What to do if you think your child is being bullied

As parents, one of our worst nightmares involves our child(ren) being bullied at school, far away from our help and support. To make this scenario even worse, many children will keep the information from their parents, often out of embarrassment or fear.

It’s important you make your child feel comfortable about talking to you about any problems they may be experiencing at school. If they think you’ll get upset or angry, chances are they will keep their problems to themselves. Try to be calm, patient and level-headed, despite how you may be feeling inside: you need to know what is going on if your child is being bullied. You may be the only one he or she can talk to.

This is not the time to act like your child’s sole advocate, nor is it the time to demand retribution and become full of righteous anger. If you act out, your child will likely fear the consequences, and they may be a lot less likely to come to you with future problems.

What you ideally want to do is support your child any way you can at home, while also giving him or her the necessary tools to get through the situation on their own. Empowering your child isn’t easy, but it’s one of the best things you can do here, because the reality is you simply cannot be there for him or her every second of the day; and even if you could, it would not be good for your child.

Lastly, be honest. Explain that this kind of stuff happens, and that the bullies are really just as insecure as everyone else is. If you can convince your child that it is not really about him or her, and more about why bullies act out in this way in general, it may help prevent your child from feeling like there is something wrong with them.

We love our children unconditionally. The first thing we want to do when we hear our child is being bullied is to get in the car and find the bully or their parents. Not only will this embarrass your child, it could make things even worse for him or her the next time you aren’t around.

It may be possible to speak with the bully’s parents, but only under the supervision of the principal or a teacher. You need a third party to keep things from getting out of control. You have to remember that the bully’s parents love their child as much as you love yours. Again, try to stay calm, patient and level-headed.

Try to find support at school. You may not be able to be there 24/7 for your child, but teachers and school staff can be very helpful – that is, as long as they know that there is a problem. Most schools have an anti-bullying program and will be able to work with you on a solution.