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What steps do I take if I think my child is being bullied?

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What steps do I take if I think my child is being bullied?

First of all try not to panic and try not to get accusatory. Sometimes if kids start to have some problems academically, or they're getting really grouchy with you, the temptation is to get mad at the kid. All parents are tempted by that. I have been too. It's like, "Okay, what is your problem?" That would not be the way to approach it. You want to go to your child and real calmly just describe what you've seen happening like, "Gee, you were getting A's last year and I notice now you're getting some C's and D's. Can you tell me what's going on there?" Or, "You seem really sad, you don't call your friends anymore." or "You're staying home a lot more than you used to. Why don't you tell me what's going on?"

The simple question, "Can you tell me what's happening?" really can open up the doors for a child to start communicating with you a little bit. If you go at it not as a big accusation or you're not totally freaked out when you're talking to your child about it, give them some room to kind of let you know what's going on. That's really the best way to find out; if you're getting absolutely nowhere and your kid just tells you nothing, your next step if you think the bullying is happening at school is to call up the teacher. Also, don't be accusatory.

There's always the temptation to think the teacher's not paying attention, is letting stuff happen that shouldn't be happening in the classroom, or whatever. It's a good idea to call them up and say, "You know, I'm noticing that he's having some trouble at school, what's your perception of what's going on?"