Bullying is when someone repeatedly hurts, threatens, or picks on another person on purpose. It can happen at school, online, or even in the neighborhood. Bullying can take different forms, such as physical harm, verbal taunts, spreading rumors, or excluding someone from activities. One out of every five (20.2%) students report being bullied1.
In terms of physical bullying, a greater percentage of male students (6%) experience it compared to female students (4%). On the other hand, a higher percentage of female students (18%) report being the subjects of rumors, and they are also more likely to be intentionally excluded from activities (7%) compared to their male counterparts (9% and 4%, respectively).2
Children may bully others for various reasons. Sometimes, it’s because they’re going through tough times at home or feel a lack of attention. Other times, they might have experienced bullying themselves. It’s essential to remember that the reasons behind bullying are complex, and understanding the root cause helps address the issue more effectively.
It’s important to avoid blaming any one person for bullying. While the child engaging in bullying behavior needs guidance, blaming doesn’t solve the problem. Instead, focusing on teaching empathy and positive behavior can contribute to creating a more inclusive environment for everyone.
Bullying can have a significant impact on children. It can lead to feelings of sadness, anxiety, and fear. Victims may struggle with school, experience changes in sleep patterns, or even show physical symptoms like stomachaches or headaches. Addressing bullying promptly is crucial to prevent long-term emotional and psychological effects.
The rates of bullying vary, but it remains a prevalent issue globally. In 2019, about 22 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being bullied at school during the school year, which was lower than the percentage reported in 2009 (28 percent)3. In the U.S., 20% of K-12 students are bullied, and race is the leading identity factor for students experiencing bullying. Black students are significantly more likely to be bullied than their White peers. 4These numbers highlight the importance of addressing bullying on both a national and international level.
Bullying comes in different shapes and sizes. Physical bullying involves hitting or pushing, while verbal bullying includes name-calling or teasing. Social bullying is when someone is excluded or rumors are spread, and cyberbullying occurs online through hurtful messages or sharing inappropriate content. Recognizing these various forms helps parents and educators intervene appropriately to protect children from harm.
You should support your child if they are getting bullied at school. Here is a few steps you can take to help them and prevent further bullying.
10 Steps to Take if Your Child is Being Bullied at School
1. Listen and Support:
Create a safe and trusting environment for your child to express their feelings without the fear of judgment. As a parent, it is crucial to actively listen, showing empathy and understanding. This step builds a foundation of trust between you and your child, allowing them to open up about their experiences and emotions.
Example: “Your feelings matter, and I want to understand what you’re going through. It’s important that you feel safe talking to me about anything.”
2. Collect Information:
Encourage your child to share specific details about the bullying incidents. As a parent, gathering this information helps you comprehend the extent of the problem and provides actionable insights for addressing the issue effectively with the school.
Example: “The more we know, the better we can help. Can you tell me who’s involved and where and when it usually happens?”
3. Talk to the School:
Initiating communication with the school is essential to ensure your child’s well-being in the educational environment. As a parent, reaching out to the school demonstrates your commitment to resolving the issue collaboratively. Working together with the school fosters a supportive atmosphere for your child.
Example: “I’ve spoken with your teacher about what’s happening. We’re a team, and we’re going to work together to make sure you feel safe at school.”
4. Online Bullying:
In today’s digital age, online bullying is a concerning issue. Saving evidence of cyberbullying helps you, as a parent, in reporting and addressing the problem. It also reinforces the importance of responsible online behavior for your child.
Example: “If someone is bothering you online, it’s crucial to keep a record of it. This way, we can take the necessary steps to stop it.”
5. Professional Support:
Seeking guidance from a counselor or therapist specializing in childhood bullying is beneficial for both you and your child. As a parent, involving a professional ensures your child receives the emotional support and coping strategies necessary to navigate the challenges of bullying.
Example: “We’re going to talk to someone who knows how to help kids like you. They can provide support and strategies to make things better.”
6. Teach Coping Skills:
Equipping your child with coping skills empowers them to handle bullying situations more effectively. As a parent, teaching these skills reinforces resilience and self-advocacy in your child.
Example: “Let’s practice ways you can respond if this happens again. Being assertive and knowing when to ask for help are valuable skills.”
7. Boost Self-Esteem:
Celebrating your child’s efforts in addressing bullying enhances their self-esteem. As a parent, reinforcing positive self-talk and highlighting your child’s strengths contribute to their overall emotional well-being.
Example: “I’m so proud of how you’re handling this. Remember, you’re strong, and I believe in you. Let’s focus on your strengths.”
8. Be an Advocate:
Taking the time to educate yourself about bullying prevention strategies positions you as an advocate for your child. As a parent, advocating for anti-bullying policies within the school community ensures a safer environment for all children.
Example: “I’ve been learning about ways to stop bullying, and I’m going to share this information with the school so that we can work together to address the issue.”
9. Contact Law Enforcement if Necessary:
In cases of severe bullying involving physical harm or threats, involving law enforcement becomes necessary. As a parent, ensuring your child’s safety is the top priority, and contacting the police may be a crucial step in extreme situations.
Example: “We want to make sure you’re safe, so we might need to talk to the police about what’s happening. Your safety is our priority.”
10. Keep Talking:
Maintaining open communication with your child is an ongoing process. Regular check-ins, as a parent, help you stay connected with your child’s emotions and experiences, providing continuous support throughout the resolution process.
Example: “I want you to know that we can talk about this anytime. You’re not alone, and I love you. Let’s keep the communication lines open.”
- https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2019/2019054.pdf ↩︎
- https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2019/2019054.pdf ↩︎
- https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=719 ↩︎
- https://www.publichealthpost.org/databyte/students-of-color-are-disproportionately-bullied-and-harassed-at-school ↩︎
FAQs about Child Bullying
What is child bullying?
Child bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior in the form of physical contact, verbal or written threats, or social exclusion that is intended to hurt another child. It can happen in person or online.
How can I handle child bullying?
If your child is being bullied, the first thing you should do is to talk to them about it. Listen to them and let them know that you are there for them. You should then talk to the bully’s parents or guardians and let them know what is happening. If the bullying is happening at school, you should also talk to the school principal or a teacher.
How can I prevent child bullying?
There are a number of things you can do to prevent child bullying. One of the most important things is to talk to your child about bullying and teach them how to stand up for themselves and others. You should also create a supportive and loving home environment where your child feels comfortable talking to you about anything.
How can I deal with a bullying child?
If your child is bullying others, it is important to address the issue immediately. Talk to your child about why bullying is wrong and help them to develop empathy for others. You should also set clear consequences for bullying behavior.
How can I discipline a bullying child?
The best way to discipline a bullying child is to use positive reinforcement. This means rewarding your child for good behavior and talking to them about their bullying behavior in a calm and constructive way. You should avoid using physical punishment, as this can make the problem worse.
How can bullying affect a child?
Bullying can have a negative impact on a child’s physical and emotional health. It can lead to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and even suicide.
What does bullying do to a kid?
Bullying can make a child feel scared, alone, and hopeless. It can also damage their self-esteem and make it difficult for them to make friends.
Why is my child bullied?
There are many reasons why a child might be bullied. They may be bullied because of their physical appearance, their race or ethnicity, their sexual orientation, or their disability. They may also be bullied because of their personality or because they have a difficult time making friends.
What happens when a child is bullied?
When a child is bullied, they may experience a variety of negative emotions, such as sadness, anger, and fear. They may also have physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, and trouble sleeping. In severe cases, bullying can lead to self-harm or suicide.
How can I help my child if they are being bullied?
If your child is being bullied, it is important to let them know that they are not alone. Talk to them about what is happening and let them know that you are there for them. You should also help them to develop coping mechanisms and strategies for dealing with the bullying. In some cases, it may be necessary to seek professional help.
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Antony Lawrence. (2023, November 21). 10 Steps to Take if Your Child is Being Bullied at School. EssayHelper.me. Retrieved from https://essayhelper.me/blog/10-steps-to-take-if-your-child-is-being-bullied-at-school/