Nurturing a Child Who Is Bullied

Take steps to support your child to talk to you about bullying and make the choices to overcome it

Fear, shame, hopelessness, and helplessness sometimes lead children to not speak of bullying that is occurring, and, often, the parent is the last to know. Whether you learn of the bullying through your child or hear about it another way, the key messages your child needs to hear are: “I hear you, and I am here for you”; “It’s not your fault”; and “There are things you can do.”

“I hear you, and I am here for you.” The words “tell me about it” and then quietly listening will help you gain your child’s perception and insight. Refrain from asking a lot of questions. You may start to recognize how the bully is affecting your child’s sense of dignity and worth.

“It’s not your fault.” Convey the message that blame goes to the bully. Help your child recognize that no one deserves to be bullied and that no behavior that your child does or does not do justifies the bully’s behavior.

“There are things you can do.” Help your child understand that he or she is not alone and that there is help as well as hope. Talk with your child about ways to  be assertive. Your child will need help looking at options and thinking through each one. Eliminate choices that may make the situation worse or provoke violence. Support and empower him or her in the choices.

inform the school. Schools need to know who is being bullied and by whom, what types of behaviors are occurring, and where and when the incidents are happening. Schools need to be informed of the impact that bullying has had on your child as well.