For Parents

As a parent, you want to protect your children and you want to teach them how to stick up for themselves and for what is right. Help your child learn how to prevent bullying by talking to them about the issue and encouraging them to speak up.

Explain to your children what bullying is, and that it is NEVER acceptable. Express your concern and make it clear you will listen and you want to help.

Teach your child what to do when they see or are a victim of bullying. Talk to them about which adults they can turn to and what to say when asking for help.


Tips for Parents

"Children who bully are loners."
  • In fact, research indicates that children and youth who bully are not socially isolated.
  • They report having an easier time making friends than children and youth who do not bully.
  • Children and youth who bully usually have at least a small group of friends who support or encourage their bullying.
"Children who bully have low self-esteem."
  • In fact, most research indicates that children and youth who bully have average or above-average self-esteem.
  • Children and youth often need help to stop bullying. Don't be afraid to call the school if you think your child is being bullied and ask for help to stop the bullying. Students should not have to tolerate bullying at school any more than adults would tolerate similar treatment at work.
  • If your child is being bullied, chances are that there are other children in the school who are having similar experiences.

Everyone has a role to play in stopping bullying. Take a stand and lend a hand to stop bullying.

It is important to understand how children are cyberbullied so it can be easily recognized and action can be taken. Some of the most common cyberbullying tactics include:

  • Posting comments or rumors about someone online that are mean, hurtful, or embarrassing.
  • Threatening to hurt someone or telling them to kill themselves. 
  • Posting a mean or hurtful picture or video. 
  • Pretending to be someone else online in order to solicit or post personal or false information about someone else. 
  • Posting mean or hateful names, comments, or content about any race, religion, ethnicity, or other personal characteristics online.
  • Creating a mean or hurtful webpage about someone. 
  • Doxing, an abbreviated form of the word documents, is a form of online harassment used to exact revenge and to threaten and destroy the privacy of individuals by making their personal information public, including addresses, social security, credit card and phone numbers, links to social media accounts, and other private data.

The digital world is constantly evolving with new social media platforms, apps, and devices, and children and teens are often the first to use them. Some negative things that may occur include cyberbullying, texing, posting hateful messages or content, and participating in negative group conversations. If your child posts harmful or negative content online, it may not only harm other children; it can affect their online reputation, which can have negative implications for their employment or college admission.

While you may not be able to monitor all of your child’s activities, there are things you can do to prevent cyberbullying and protect your child from harmful digital behavior:

  • Monitor a teen’s social media sites, apps, and browsing history, if you have concerns that cyberbullying may be occurring.
  • Review or re-set your child’s phone location and privacy settings.
  • Follow or friend your teen on social media sites or have another trusted adult do so.
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest apps, social media platforms, and digital slang used by children and teens.
  • Know your child’s user names and passwords for email and social media.
  • Establish rules about appropriate digital behavior, content, and apps.

Many of the warning signs that cyberbullying is occurring happen around a child’s use of their device. Some of the warning signs that a child may be involved in cyberbullying are:

  • Noticeable increases or decreases in device use, including texting.
  • A child exhibits emotional responses (laughter, anger, upset) to what is happening on their device.
  • A child hides their screen or device when others are near, and avoids discussion about what they are doing on their device.
  • Social media accounts are shut down or new ones appear.
  • A child starts to avoid social situations, even those that were enjoyed in the past.
  • A child becomes withdrawn or depressed, or loses interest in people and activities.

Resource from: https://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/prevention/index.html

If your child is being bullied, talk to your child's teacher instead of confronting the bully's parents. DoDEA is establishing all schools as No Bullying Zones. If no action is taken, talk to the principal.

Teach your child nonviolent ways to deal with bullies, like walking away or talking it out. Role-play bullying scenarios with your child. Help your child act with self-confidence.

Practice walking upright, looking people in the eye, and speaking clearly.

Don't encourage your child to fight. He or she could get hurt, get in trouble or start more serious problems with the bully.

Involve your children in activities outside of school so they know they can make friends in a different social circle.

Know what is going on at your child's school. Learn about its bullying prevention program, join the PTA and get involved. Be persistent. Bullying isn't solved overnight.

If your child is being bullied, chances are that there are other children in the school who are having similar experiences.

If your child tells you that he or she has been bullied or if you suspect your child is being bullied, what should the school do?

All children are entitled to courteous and respectful treatment by other students and the staff at school. As educators, we have a duty to provide a safe learning environment and most educators take their responsibilities to stop bullying very seriously.

Some steps you can take when working with the school to stop bullying:
  • Keep a written record of all bullying incidents that your child reports to you. Record the names of the children involved, where and when the bullying occurred, and what happened.
  • Immediately ask to meet with your child's classroom teacher and explain your concerns in a friendly, non-confrontational way.
  • Ask the teacher about his or her observations:
    • Has he or she noticed or suspected bullying?
    • How is your child getting along with others in class?
    • Has he or she noticed that your child is being isolated, excluded from playground or other activities with students?
  • Ask the teacher what he or she intends to do to investigate and help to stop the bullying.
  • If you are concerned about how your child is coping with the stress of being bullied, ask to speak with your child's guidance counselor or other school-based mental health professional.
  • Set up a follow-up appointment with the teacher to discuss progress.
  • If there is no improvement after reporting bullying to your child's teacher, speak with the school principal.
  • Keep notes from your meetings with teachers and administrators.

School staff should never have a joint meeting with your child and the child who bullied them. This could be very embarrassing and intimidating for your child. They should not refer the children to mediation. Bullying is a form of victimization, not a conflict. It should not be mediated.

Staff should meet with your child to learn about the bullying that he or she has experienced. They should develop a plan to help keep your child safe, and they should be watchful for any future bullying. Educators should assure your child that they will work hard to see that the bullying stops.

School personnel should meet with the children who are suspected of taking part in the bullying. They should make it clear to these children that bullying is against school rules and will not be tolerated. If appropriate, they should administer consequences (such as a loss of recess privileges) to the children who bullied and notify their parents.

  • Educators and parents should be careful not to "blame the victim." Bullying is never the "fault" of the child who is bullied, and he or she shouldn't be made to feel responsible for being bullied. However, if your child is impulsive or lacks social skills, talk with a school counselor. It is possible that some students who are bullying your child are reacting out of annoyance. This doesn't make the bullying right, but it may help to explain why your child is being bullied.
  • Give the school reasonable time to investigate and hear both sides of the story. Sometimes, a child who bullies will make false allegations about a child as an additional way of bullying them. Educators should not jump to hasty conclusions and assign blame without a thorough assessment of the situation. This entire process should not take longer than a week.
  • If bullying continues, write to the school's principal or administrator and include evidence from your notes to back up your complaint. Putting a complaint in writing is important so there is a record of your concern.
  • Most administrators and staff are responsive to bullying concerns. However, if your school administrator is unable or unwilling to stop the bullying, write to your school superintendent for assistance.

Be persistent. You may need to keep speaking out about the bullying that your child experiences.

No parent wants to believe their child is bullying but if you suspect it, either because it has been brought to your attention or just because you have a concern that it might be happening you have a responsibility to take action.

Working closely with the school to resolve the situation is important.

It may be that your child was bullied and is now repeating the behavior.

Some indicators that your child may be bullying others are:
  • Becomes violent with others
  • Gets into physical or verbal fights with others
  • Gets sent to the principal's office or detention a lot
  • Has extra money or new belongings that cannot be explained
  • Is quick to blame others
  • Will not accept responsibility for their actions
  • Has friends who bully others
  • Needs to win or be best at everything
What you can do:
  • Talk with your child. Ask for their account of the situation. Be objective and listen carefully. Calmly explain what your child is accused of and ask for an explanation of the incident and their role.
  • Make it clear to your child that you take bullying seriously. Calmly let them know that you will not tolerate this behavior. Help your child learn that bullying hurts everyone involved.
  • Develop clear and consistent rules for your child's behavior. Praise your child when they follow the rules. Decide on fair consequences and follow through if your child breaks the rules.
  • Spend more time with your child. Carefully supervise and monitor their activities, including when they are online or texting.
  • Be aware of who your child's friends are. Find out how they spend their free time.
  • Build on your child's talents and positive attributes. Encourage him or her to get involved in social activities.
  • Work with your child's school to ensure the bullying does not happen again. Ask the school to keep you informed. Develop strategies together to address bullying. Work together to send clear messages to your child that the bullying must stop.
  • Talk with a school counselor or health professional. They may be able to provide your child with additional help.

Parents need to remember that children who bully are at high risk for engaging in risky or even criminal behaviors, and it is very important in a bullying situation for the parents to act immediately.

If you notice warning signs that a child may be involved in cyberbullying, take steps to investigate that child’s digital behavior. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying, and adults should take the same approach to address it: support the child being bullied, address the bullying behavior of a participant, and show children that cyberbullying is taken seriously. Because cyberbullying happens online, responding to it requires different approaches. If you think that a child is involved in cyberbullying, there are several things you can do:

  • Notice – Recognize if there has been a change in mood or behavior and explore what the cause might be. Try to determine if these changes happen around a child’s use of their digital devices.
  • Talk – Ask questions to learn what is happening, how it started, and who is involved.
  • Document – Keep a record of what is happening and where. Take screenshots of harmful posts or content if possible. Most laws and policies note that bullying is a repeated behavior, so records help to document it.
  • Report – Most social media platforms and schools have clear policies and reporting processes. If a classmate is cyberbullying, report it the school. You can also contact app or social media platforms to report offensive content and have it removed. If a child has received physical threats, or if a potential crime or illegal behavior is occurring, report it to the police.
  • Support – Peers, mentors, and trusted adults can sometimes intervene publicly to positively influence a situation where negative or hurtful content posts about a child. Public Intervention can include posting positive comments about the person targeted with bullying to try to shift the conversation in a positive direction. It can also help to reach out to the child who is bullying and the target of the bullying to express your concern. If possible, try to determine if more professional support is needed for those involved, such as speaking with a guidance counselor or mental health professional.

Resource from: https://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/prevention/index.html

Some parents:
  • Aren't sure how to help their child and may be afraid that they will make the situation worse if they report bullying.
  • May be embarrassed that their child is being bullied.
  • May be asked by their children not to report bullying.
  • May be worried about seeming overprotective or interfering.
  • May believe it is up to their child to stop the bullying.
Children Who Bully
 
How to Talk with Educators at Your Child’s School About Bullying: Tips for Parents of Bullied Children
 
Warning Signs that a Child is Being Bullied
 
What We Know About Bullying