The school year is starting and parents hope for a successful year for their child, both academically and socially.  But what do you do if your Child is the target of a Bully?  There are several things you can do to both support and guide your child.  First let’s take a look at what bullying is.  Bullying is:

  • Making fun of someone
  • Putting someone down
  • Threatening another person
  • Can involve physical contact
  • Is done on purpose & repeatedy
  • Can be done both in-person and virtually

Here are some suggestions on how a parent can help their child cope with a bullying situation:

1.) Listen carefully to your child’s concerns.  You may want to repeat phrases like, “that would make anyone feel nervous or sad.”  Let them know they are not to blame for the bullying.  Often time’s people who are bullied feel unsafe, afraid, and lonely.  Reinforce how brave they are to talk about what is happening to them and that they are not alone in coping with this.

2.) Find out about the situation-Document what happened, where it happened, and who witnessed it.  Find out what worked or didn’t work to stop the bullying.  Reassure your child that telling is not “tattling,” instead it is reporting something that is unsafe.  If it continues, ask to see your school’s policy on bullying.  Approach this issue by asking for help, not laying the blame.  In Illinois, bullying falls under the “Prevent School Violence Act,” and is against the law.  Working as a team with the school will help prevent the bullying from continuing.

3.) Encourage your child to walk away from the bully and to not engage with him or her.  Advise your child to not get physical with the bully.  Bullies tend to pick on children that they think will not fight back.  Encourage your child to “fight back” by getting help from an adult.  Tell them to not walk alone and instead to stick with friends.  Encourage your child to be in activities that they have interest and talent in.  This will build their self-confidence.

If you have concerns about your child feeling sad, depressed, or suicidal due to a bullying situation, please contact a mental health professional.