How to Help Your Child Cope With a Bully

August 21, 2007 at 4:32 pm  •  Posted in Schools and Communities by  •  0 Comments

By Lynn Hagan, PsyD, CTRL, LCSW


In handling bullies, parent’s must keep in mind that they not only have to protect their child, but also make sure that their child is able to “save face” on the playground.

Clearly, there are some things to avoid in handling this situation.

  • Listen to your child and reassure them.
  • Tell your child to involve an authority figure such as a teacher, administrator, bus driver, or another adult, especially if the incident involves physical assault.
  • Role play with your child alternative ways to defuse the situation – allowing your child to be the bully during the exercise.
  • Find out where the incidents are taking place. Is there adult or school supervision? Is it adequate?
  • Telling your child to hit back sends the wrong message and could possibly create even more problems.
  • Talking directly to the bully yourself creates a scenario where your child appears weak and can not handle his or her own problems. This could also make matters worse.
  • Bullies know when and when not to strike. Even if an adult doesn’t see them, if your child says it happened, it probably did. If you see the event, send the message by giving a strong took that action will be taken.
  • If you have been told by the school that your child is the bully, talk directly to the teachers and administration.
  • Inquire as to the school district’s policy on bullying. If there is not one, talk to the parent’s organization or other school officials about the possibility of establishing one. Discuss the potential for teacher, student, and parent training on bullies in school.
Signs That Your Child May Be Bullied:
  • Torn clothes
  • Poor performance in school or other negative school behaviors
  • Upset stomach before school or voicing they do not want to go to school
  • Regression such as bedwetting or thumb-sucking
  • Requests for more lunch money
  • Inability to sleep at night.


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