Offer support to a bullied child:

  • Listen and focus on the child. Learn what’s been going on and show you want to help;
  • Assure the child that bullying is not their fault;
  • Know that kids who are bullied may struggle with talking about it. Consider referring them to a school counselor, psychologist or other mental health service;
  • Give advice about what to do. This may involve role-playing and thinking through how the child might react if the bullying occurs again;
  • Work together to resolve the situation and protect the bullied child. The child, parents and school or organization may all have valuable input. It may help to ask the child being bullied what can be done to make him or her feel safe. Remember that changes to routine should be minimized;
  • Develop a game plan. Maintain open communication between schools, organizations and parents. Discuss the steps that are taken and the limitations around what can be done based on policies and laws. Remember, the law does not allow school personnel to discuss discipline, consequences or services given to other children;
  • Be persistent. Bullying may not end overnight. Commit to making it stop and consistently support the bullied child.

Avoid these mistakes:

  • Never tell the child to ignore the bullying;
  • Do not blame the child for being bullied. Even if he or she provoked the bullying, no one deserves to be bullied;
  • Do not tell the child to physically fight back against the bully. It could get your child hurt, suspended or expelled;
  • Parents should resist the urge to contact the other parents involved. It may make matters worse. School or other officials can act as mediators between parents;
  • Follow-up. Show a commitment to making the bullying stop. Because bullying is behavior that repeats or has the potential to be repeated, it takes consistent effort to ensure that it stops.

Information from U.S. Health and Human Services

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