Be Alert to Signs of Bullying

Bullying has become a major problem for American youths. You’ve probably heard stories in the media recently of young ones taking their lives because of bullying. If you are a parent, no doubt you are concerned about your children and what they are dealing with at school. You may not be able to completely stop bullying, but there are things that you can do to protect your children and help them cope with bullies. The key is for you to be alert to the symptoms and then take proactive measures.

Be Alert to the Symptoms

Your child may be reluctant to tell you that they are being bullied, so you must be alert to symptoms that could indicate that they are being bullied. Here are some things to be on the lookout for:

– physical trauma like bruises and scratches,

– declining grades,

– fear of attending school or regularly feeling sick before going to school,

– change in appetite,

– and a refusal to talk.

Be Proactive

If you suspect that your child may be bullied, you must be proactive and work with your child to handle the situation. By proactive by…

Asking questions. Work to create an open dialog with your child about what they are going through. Be patient, it may take some time to get your child to open up to you. Try a variety of different questioning methods. You can try being direct, but if that doesn’t work, you may have to question them in a more shrewd, roundabout way.

Having practice sessions. Work with your child by teaching them ways that they can cope with the bully. Teach them that fighting back is never the answer. Practice how to assertively speak to a bully. If that doesn’t work, then encourage them to walk away from the situation and tell an adult afterward. Create different scenarios and role play.

Setting a good example. Your children watch you constantly. If you want to raise a strong and confident child, show them how to do it. Do not be a bully yourself.

Speaking to the school. Don’t assume that teachers know what’s going on at school. Make sure you voice any concerns immediately so you can come up with a prevention plan.

For more proactive tips, visit the articleHow can parents help to prevent bullying at their child’s school?


At times, professional help from a mental health care professional may be necessary. If you live in the Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA area, please contact our office for more information.

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