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My Child is Being Bullied: Parenting Strategies for Bullying

My Child is Being Bullied

It’s lunch time in a busy school cafeteria and while you see several empty seats at the table, when you start to put your things down you are quickly told all of the seats are taken.

As you walk through the hall you can hear kids saying unkind things about you. Class after class one classmate keeps threatening to jump you after school if you don’t give them answers to the assignments.

We’ve all likely encountered it ourselves. The mean girl or guy who won’t include us, say hurtful things or targets us with their social vitriol.

As an adult, you may have learned skills for coping with this or even avoiding these people, but our children are often unprepared for how to handle bullying and social exclusion.

As parents, we can teach them strategies that can boost their confidence and ability to handle these difficult situations. These include the following:


Parenting Strategies for Bullying

Ask Yourself “Is It Me or Is It Them?”

Many kids will think there must be something wrong with them that would lead someone to say or do mean things or leave them out. We want to help our kids see that they do not deserve this type of treatment.

Ask your child if they notice the bully treating other people poorly. Ask your child to notice if the bully seems unhappy a lot of the time. Sometimes people treat us based on their feelings and experiences, not based on anything that we do or can control.


Stick Close to Your Friends

Physically be close to your friends. There really can be safety in numbers in some situations. Band together to stand up for one another.

Encourage your child to give support to others who encounter similar problems with bullies which can help set a boundary with bullies that their behavior is not acceptable to the group.


It’s Okay to Ask for Help

While it’s good to do what we can personally to address a problem, sometimes we need to engage the help of people who are more powerful than us.

Teach your child to talk to you about their concerns and to tell another trusted adult such as a teacher, school administrator or guidance counselor about any bullying behavior.


Not Everyone Does the Right Thing, but Most People Do

Sometimes kids start to think that everyone will treat them poorly when they are excluded or bullied. Help them look at the positive relationships they have and promote the growth and development of those relationships. Despite some bad apples out there, the larger bunch is good.


Difficult Situations Can Help You Learn and Grow

While bullying is hurtful on many levels and never desirable, sometimes having to deal with difficult situations pushes us towards learning new skills and teaches us to see that we can get through hard situations.

Bullying is a very serious issue often associated with negative outcomes for those who experience it (and those who engage it in).

The vast majority of people will experience mean girl or guy behavior at some time. Help your child with these skills and reach out for support from the school and mental health professionals if needed.

Click here for more content by Amanda McGough, Ph.D.!

Amanda McGough, Ph.D.
Dr. McGough enjoys working with children, adolescents, and adults. Her special interests include depression, anxiety, self-harming behaviors, life transitions, behavior problems and parenting skills. Her approach is strengths based, straightforward, supportive and nonjudgmental. In working with children and adolescents, Dr. McGough involves family members when appropriate to address family dynamics and help parents. Dr. McGough has specialized training in providing Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) to address difficulties with controlling emotions.


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