My Child is Being Bullied—What Should I Do?

by Elisabeth Wilkins, Empowering Parents Editor
My Child is Being Bullied—What Should I Do?

EP caught up with Peggy Moss, a nationally known expert on bullying and a tireless advocate for the prevention of hate violence, to discuss bullying. Peggy is also the author of Say Something, an award-winning children’s book that helps parents and educators start conversations with kids about actions they can take when they are being bullied, or are a witness to other kids being tormented at school.

"The injury is real when kids get teased — unchecked, it can be devastating."

Are name-calling and teasing just part of growing up, a rite of passage that all kids go through? "Many people out there think that adults are making too much of a fuss about it, that we should leave kids to their own devices. We know better now,” argues Peggy. “I have talked to 80-year-olds who remember the name of the person who tormented them in school, and the name of the child who stood up for them in first grade. This is pain that has lasted a lifetime. We have the information to stop bullying now, so why wouldn’t we?”

EP sat down with Peggy and asked her what parents can do when they suspect their child is being bullied, and what they can do—together—to try to stop it.

How can you tell if your child is being bullied?
There’s a good chance your kid won’t walk up to you and say, “I’m getting teased and bullied at school, the kids are calling me names.” Instead, it’s going to manifest itself by your child saying, “I don’t want to go to school today.” If this seems to be happening a lot, consider the possibility that bullying might be the reason behind the sick days. Also, look for signs that kids are hurting themselves. Self-mutilation can be a sign. For boys, one classic symptom is that they are teased so much about being gay or being atypical that they’re terrified to go to the bathroom. Since there’s only one way in and one way out of a bathroom, it’s an ideal place to tease other kids. Boys who are bullied often won’t go all day, which can lead to lifelong intestinal issues. This could potentially be a sign—if your kid races home and goes to the bathroom every day after school. These are all possible signals that your child might be the target of teasing at school.

As a parent, teacher or health care worker, add “Bullying” to your radar when you’re trying to figure out what’s going on with a child—add the possibility that your kid is getting tormented at school. The injury is real when kids get teased—unchecked, it can be devastating.

Related: Is anxiety over your child driving you over the edge?

If my child comes to me and tells me he is being bullied, what is the best thing to do?
I would say let your child talk about it. Don’t say, “What did you do that made them tease you?” That’s a pit parents can fall into. Don’t make the assumption that your kid has done something to bring on the teasing. Teasing isn’t always logical, and for your kid it doesn’t matter why—it just matters that it’s happening.

Listen in a non-judgmental way about your child and about the teaser. Let your kid do the talking. Don’t try to solve the problem. Ask, “What happened? How did that make you feel?” to draw your child out. And try to find out more about the kid who’s doing the teasing. Don’t say, “Oh my God, what a rotten kid,” because you’re just getting a part of the story. Your child doesn’t need you to go ballistic or take on the problem as your own. Your child needs to know that he’s being heard and that his feelings matter. Once you’ve got the whole story out, depending upon what’s happened, you can take your next step. For a parent to be explosive about the situation will cause a child to recoil. If I march to school and confront the bully on the playground, my child is not going to feel safe telling me anything about this again. I’m taking on his battle for him.

So, what can I do to stop the bullying?
The short answer is to let your kid come up with ideas. Ask him questions like, “What do you think you can say next time? What do you think might work?” Help your child see what the outcome might be of their words and actions; help them see that this is a problem they can solve on their own terms. For example, your kid might come up with the idea of saying to the bully, “Leave me alone, you jerk.” Instead of the parent saying, “That’s a bad idea,” respond with, “What do you think is going to happen if you do that?” Let them figure out that the bullying might escalate if they resort to name-calling.

Your child might then shrug and say, “I could walk away from the bully.” You can suggest that they walk away the first time and say what they need to say the next time. We have to be honest about how hard it is to face a tormentor. It’s also important to ask your child this question: “What’s going to make you feel better about this situation?” But make sure you’re not the one coming up with the solution. It’s important that your child feels like they’re solving the problem on his or her own terms. It’s a skill you can teach them that will last a lifetime.

Related: How to stay calm as a parent, no matter what.

What if my child won’t talk to me about being bullied?
As long as they feel like they have a safe place to go, that is what’s important. And if you feel your kid can’t talk to you, swallow hard and say, “OK, my child is not talking to me, but they’ve got to talk.” Put someone else in that room with them that they can talk to, whether it’s an aunt or uncle, teacher, counselor, coach or family friend. Unless that conversation can start, it’s very hard to get to the heart of the problem.

When should I approach my child’s teachers about it?
Go in pretty early, as soon as your child starts coming home and mentioning that they are being teased. If your kid is coming home more than once a week and saying, “These kids are teasing me and I don’t like to go to the bathroom,” go in after school when all the kids are gone. Call the teacher and set up an appointment. Teachers are like everyone else, if you mention something in passing, it won’t carry as much weight. If you make an appointment, they will listen.

A caution to parents: often when your kid is getting bullied, their teachers don’t know it. Kids are smart enough not to do it in front of the teacher. Bear in mind that when you go to a teacher you shouldn’t be carrying a hatchet in your back pocket. It may not be that the teacher is doing a bad job, it might mean it’s happening out of earshot. Don’t go into school assuming that you’ll be received with, “Oh yes, we’ve seen this happening.” Say things like, “My child is coming home and talking about this.” And then say, “This is how it’s impacting my child.” That’s what teachers need to know, because it may not be obvious to them. What you’re asking is for them to keep an eye out. Later, you can check in with email, and they can get back to you when you’re ready. If the bullying doesn’t stop, or it’s really bad bullying, you should go to the principal. A really great trick is to go in with a question: “I talked to Ms. Fabbiano a week ago, and my daughter is still coming home with this complaint. What should I do?” Put it into the lap of the principal and ask, “When can I expect to hear back from you about what you’ve done? What’s the next step?” Then you can tell your child that you will be getting an answer on Thursday about what steps will be taken. It’s also all right to ask educators to keep your conversations private, and then you can reassure your child about this as well.

What about when it’s gone beyond verbal abuse and there is a physical threat?
Once you’ve got a threat, you’ve got a crime—it’s called “Criminal Threatening.” It’s time to alert the police. You want to be in touch with the school long before you’ve got a threat of violence. When the threat of violence comes, you’re in police territory. That’s why there’s so much uproar about teasing and bullying, because once a child has been threatened with violence, it’s a really big wound. It’s hard to tell that child that they can feel safe at school ever again. Especially if the threat is anonymous. For the kid who gets an anonymous threat, going to school is terrifying minute-to-minute. There is no way a child can focus on her math test if she’s trying to figure out who wrote the note saying they were going to kill her. By the time you get to that point, you are in crisis mode.

Part of it is getting a sense from teachers about what’s really going on in that school. As a parent, it’s much more complicated. If you can’t figure out who is making the threat and the police can’t figure it out, you really have to decide whether the child is safe in the school and whether you want to keep her there.

The message to kids in your book Say Something is that kids have the power to stop bullying behavior at school themselves. Can you explain how this works?
When we talk to kids about bullies, remind them of this truth: Bullies are cowards. Most bullies won’t tease two kids together, and almost never will they pick on three kids at once. Even in a group, bullies single out one or two kids. In terms of plain old teasing, bullies like to put other kids down, to make someone else feel lousy so they can feel powerful. Most kids who are teasing and putting down other kids are looking for approval from peers. Teach your kids that there are a lot of ways to show that you don’t approve. If someone just speaks up and says, “Whoa,” or “Ew,” or “That’s not cool,” it can be effective. If another kid can walk up and say, “Hey, come over here, you want to go play?” to the person getting picked on, that’s huge. It often will defuse the whole situation. That bully is unlikely to follow, and he has just been told in public that what he's doing is not cool. Whether a teacher or kid breaks the assumption, now the kid getting picked on knows that not everyone agrees, and so does the bully. It doesn’t always have to take a lot of courage. Kids should know that they have the power to change their situation, especially when they work together.

 Related: How to help your child without "doing it for him."

Peggy MossPeggy Moss has worked to eradicate bullying for more than a decade, first as a prosecutor with the Department of Attorney General in Maine, and later as an educator and curriculum developer with the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence and the Cromwell Disabilities Center. Peggy has written three award-winning books for elementary-aged children on bullying, Say Something, Our Friendship Rules, co-authored by Dee Dee Tardiff, and One of Us.  She also gives seminars and bullying awareness workshops to healthcare providers, educators, students and parents in the United States and Canada. Peggy is a graduate of Princeton University and the Washington College of Law at American University. She currently lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and two daughters. For more information, see www.SaySomethingNow.com.


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Elisabeth Wilkins is the editor of Empowering Parents and the mother of one son. Her work has appeared in national and international publications, including Mothering, Motherhood, and The Japan Times. Elisabeth holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine.

READER'S COMMENTS

Thank you for the article. The advice for early intervention is right on target. Wording of questions and good listening skills are paramount. Thank you.

Comment By : Nutrition Nut

The type of bullying my child gets is more in the form of a group of 2 or 3 will talk down and tease my daughter who is also in a group. It's more of a "popularity" contest. My daughter is 12 and I think girls can use their words to be meaner then boys.

Comment By : Kristin- Michigan

how likely is it that bullies are being emotionally abused by their own parents? they need help too to be reconciled with their community of peers. i was bullied unmercifully, and yet i now know that bullies need love & discipline too in order to change. i was fortunate to be able to maintain my inner core of emotional security and self-esteem. thus, i now have the ability to be steadfast, supportive and relentless in opposing abuse and double standards wherever i see them, including in our government.

Comment By : Aunty M

my daughter,who is now 10, has been bullied at school since day one. she had been to 3 schools and they're all the same. i was bullied all through my school years too and although i am a strong and confident woman now there is a core of me which has never recovered from the damage to my self esteem. it is devastating to me to see my daughter going through the same thing. bullying is a complex issue which requires approaches from all angles. i am trying to improve my daughters social skills, the school is tackling the bullying, and a school psychologist is giving her strategies.

Comment By : kezmet

Great article. I learned a lot. Ms. Wilkins is an excellent interviewer, she lets people tell their stories without getting in the way.

Comment By : hondofetch

This was a great article. My youngest son is the victim of a kid who has managed to infiltrate the group of friends my son use to be a part of but due to this other kid my son is now the one who has been pushed out. We have tried to guide him in selecting new friends (which is difficult) since this group of boys have been friends for several years, and avoid this kid. Got the other direction if he's coming your way etc. I was recently at a school field trip and watched the kids play on the playground. My son would be in an area with his friends and the minute he would see this bully and group come over he would move to a different area...only to be followed by the bully and forced to move again. The continued for 30mins..I was heartbroken to sit and watch him do all that he could to avoid being picked on only for the kid to keep coming after him. Nothing happened while I was there, but when we returned to school that afternoon there was an altercation on the school playground when no one was watching. This has been going on for several months now and so we have tried to teach out son that if this kid continues to track him down and torment him at some point he is going to have to stand up for himself. He chose to do that this afternoon after the kid pushed him down and told him he was a big 'FATSO'. Although I don't advocate pushing back but my son had had enough and pushed back and threw back in the kids face that 'I wouldn't be talking - you don't have any room to talk' this then spurred on a comment from one of his friends (who they use to be inseparable but since this new kid has come on the scene he wants to impress him so he doesn't get the wrath of him)..'Hey don't talk to my friend that way'...he then stood up for himself and told his friend to either 'bring it on' or walk away..of which both boys turned and walked away. Again, I don't advocate fighting at all but at what point do you say enough is enough? I went and spoke to the Mom of the friend who has always been friends with my son until just recently because of this bully and explained what happened. I told her the hardest thing was that her son is trying to be friends with both boys but that when the bully was picking on my son he didn't stand up to him, but when my son fought back - his friend stood up for the bully. That is when it isn't right...we need to teach our children that RIGHT IS RIGHT & WRONG IS WRONG...even if you are caught in a tough situation...we must always chose the RIGHT. The mom was very supportive and has since talked to her son and I am happy to say that my son and her son are realizing that friendship isn't something you take for granted and that it's not right to single out those just because you have a bully in the mix.

Comment By : Tinks Toy

My son is 10 and has mild cerebral palsy that causes him problems in walking and because of this is being bullied and teased in school. This has continued to the extent that he has asked more than once if he can change schools. I feel bad for him, having been bullied and teased myself in school when I was younger but I dont know what to do about it. I too, havent been able to recover from all of the effects and dont want this to continue and ruin my child from having a happy childhood and adolescence.

Comment By : trekkiemom

* Dear Trekkiemom: Thank you for your question, and I'm sorry to hear about what's happening with your son. It is remarkably difficult to see your child in pain, and, as a parent, I empathize with your concerns about long-term impact: on his self-esteem and his ability to see school and learning as a positive part of his life. I would say that if you are otherwise happy with the quality of education your son is getting at his current school, I would try very hard to rally the support of teachers and administrators there, solve the problem, and keep your son in place. (The school, in turn, may need to get more information/training on how to support you and your son, but that's a good investment, because your son is almost certainly not the only child at this school experiencing teasing). One of the early roles of these supportive educators will be to identify allies for your son - kids who can walk with him, sit with him, and help him get through his day. (Bullies are cowards, and simply walking with a buddy will go a long way to buffering what is said, and the impact on your son). While initially this may be a tacitly "assigned" role, more often than not, "buddies" assigned by teachers evolve into plain-old friends. There are many resources for schools on all of these issues, which they hopefully will have access to. I make this suggestion for two reasons. The first is that, as you describe it, your son is not "the problem." I worry that unconsciously, when we "remove" a child, we send the message that we are taking away the problem. I'd hate for him to get that message. I'd also be a little bit concerned about precedent. By contrast, if he manages to work through a solution, this situation could be a personal triumph for him, and something he can carry forward proudly. (To that end, if he can be involved in shaping the solution, that would be great). Secondly, I don't suggest moving your son (again, so long as he is "safe" at this school, or you can be assured that he will be made safe promptly) because teasing happens at every school. It may be better for him, from a self-esteem point of view, to face up to it at his current school rather than face the bitter reality that teasing happens everywhere - which he may (wrongly) interpret as a message that HE is the problem. I hope this is some help. I wish you the very best dealing with this difficult issue.

Comment By : Peggy Moss

I think when bullying gets to the point of injury that continuing on in the same school is dangerous. My daughter had 3 injuries in 4 months, including a concussion. If the principal can't get the situation under control, and the school department won't take any action then the only choice is to get out. The bullies should be made to make changes but when the adults in charge don't take charge then the children being bullied should go elsewhere. You wouldn't leave children in abusive homes and tell them to stick it out, would you?

Comment By : Jo

While the comments about ways to diffuse a situation are helpful, they depend on the action of other children to come to the child's rescue. Our experience is that this happens once in a while but not enough to discourage the bullying. In our situation it often seemed that the bully somehow managed to win the other children over, perhaps because they feared becoming victims themselves. Having the teacher assign a buddy sounds so nice but usually creates resentment at being stuck with the one being bullied. I am afraid there is no substitute for standing up to the bully and then having to take the consequences for your actions from the administration. Of course with the things that can happen that brings the fear that the bully will "up the stakes" by bringing a gun or knife. For some reason schools seem to be at as much of a loss as parents about what to do. I think one problem is the failure of boys especially to let teachers know what is going on. The cultural hatred for the tattler is so strong and distorted that it can lead to these mini-despots in the locker rooms and bathrooms having a great deal of power. I have never understood why coaches don't make it a practice to go through the locker rooms or busy themselves nearby so they can have some idea of what is going on in these areas. Just a shout through the door would be a help to some poor kid from time to time.

Comment By : ljgrey

Regarding some good points by ljgrey: I am a school psychologist and have seen improvement when we in the school admit/validate that there REALLY IS such a thing as tattling, and that it's wrong. But then we define it: tattling is when you tell on someone just to get that person in trouble. This is in stark contrast to responsible reporting, which is required when behavior is dangerous or if it hasn't been fixed by calmly, firmly asserting what is right yourself. Did you ever confront a child who was a passive bystander to real bullying? When you ask them what they did about it, they all know they didn't do what they should have. When we spell out and rehearse what's expected of them, and set these guidelines as school policy, we not only encourage but demand responsible action to help correct bullying from the kids. THE BIG MISTAKE WE MAKE IS BY LETTING THE KIDS FEEL LIKE THIER ONLY OPTIONS ARE TO EITHER TOADY UP TO THE BULLY OR THROW A PUNCH THEMSELVES. By letting kids feel like these are their only two options, of course the bullies keep the power. I'm not saying that some bullies haven't learned their lesson through a quick pop in the chops, but it's best delivered in the spirit of "no hard feelings." And it better not be at school. Isn't it interesting that we have plenty of kids who do martial arts, and none of them are bullies or targets? (Okay, some of the girls still play mind games...)

Comment By : imissjohnwayne

Hi I have a ten year old son he gets hit all the time on the bus and the school or our local police department will not do anything. I can not take him to school because of my work hours, neither can the daycare provider. What can I do to help him before he goes off the deep end?

Comment By : Danna

My son has been bullied since we moved from England. He has been teased severly over it. I am just now finding out how bad it is. We are now in a new school but the past bulleying as ruined his confiden to make new friends. He is so scared it will happen to him again. What can I do to help him?

Comment By : Hischild

* Hischild, I think that a good place to start is not only acknowledging how tough it can be to experience being mistreated or picked on but bringing it down to size by stating that this happens to other kids. In addition, he will need a healthy dose of reassurance that now that you know you can take steps to help him with this. Encourage him to take it slowly and to focus on forming one friendship at a time with someone who is a good candidate—you can help him with by discussing and identifying who that may be. I’d like to include an article that gives some really useful ideas on how to talk to your child about fitting in and what skills you can help them develop so they feel in charge and give them the ability to solve the problem appropriately.

Comment By : Tina Wakefield, Parental Support Line Advisor

my son who is 4 years old is being hit and verbally abused by this kid in our neighborhood. I don't know what to do. I had to drill my son as to why he had a few bruises on him and he spilled his guts to me. I am mortified by what he has said and he is so upset and angry all the time. I really don't know what to do to make him release this anger and hate cause he told me he wants to be good and happy but he can't control his temper.

Comment By : rockmom

* Dear ‘rockmom’: It will be important for you to supervise his play, perhaps by having kids play with him in your home so that he is no longer playing where the bully can get to him. Sometimes kids who are bullied react by bullying other, younger or weaker kids. Given he’s only 4, he will have a tough time noticing this or thinking this through. He’ll need your help to change his behavior. It’s important to just have your emphasis on his behavior and not too much on what’s going on for him. As you supervise his play, you can watch for signs of aggression and give him instructions when you redirect him. For example, if he appears as though he’s about to hit someone, say, “Hey Joe. No hitting. Remember to use your words.” He may still need more coaching, so say, “Tell your friend what you want.” “I was playing with that and you took it apart.” Now tell your friend if you want him to help you rebuild it. “I don’t!” “Okay. Now tell you friend when he can have a turn or if you can play together with it after you rebuild it.” He’ll probably be cooled off by then and it’s very likely the boys will work something out at this point. Try not to look at him as being full of anger and hate but more as lacking the problem solving skills he needs—the skills to deal with strong emotions. If after removing him from the bully situation and working to coach him during play dates under your supervision, he still seems full of anger and hate, consider working with a mental health professional to help him over this bump. Ask his pediatrician for a recommendation for a child therapist who works with kids his age.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

imissjohnwayne I am suprised the school would not do a thing. You need to talk to the school if the police won't step in. They can talk to the bullies parents. I know in alot of states after so much stuff the school kicks out that person if they keep re-peating same things everyday towards kids. They can't go back. They have to find a new school. If the school does not do anything. Next Step...... Lawyer !

Comment By : blondie

Thankyou,For the chance to speak. My daughter is a 17 yar old in high school. last weekend her best friend was having a sleepover, However,all the girls were already at the sleepover except for my daughter before she left another friend had text her with a problem and asked if she would go out to dinner with her. That she needed a friend to talk to.So my daughter said sure. When she had gotten back home to grab her overnight bag,she checked her facebook to put her comment status. Thats when she noticed all her current friends at sleepover had put there comment status as (we are gonna get her) So my daughter figures it was about her and decides not to go! Guess What she was right. They were planning on jumping her when she arrived,because, parents were gone. Nobody will speak to her at school. Everyone has discluded her and it breaks my heart. It has gotten so bad that she wont even go to church or youth groups because of this. please help!

Comment By : momx4

I just want to say my heart goes out to all of these young kids being bullied. This is a crime that has to STOP. I grew up being bullied and it is something no child or parent should have to go thru. Im 27 now and we didnt have facebook back then, and now a days because of these site there are so many more ways to spread this hatred. I live in San Diego, CA and i would love to know of any organization or out reach i can join to help kids and parents going thru this. If anyone know of any organization or outreach i can join please post it here on this page, I really want to help with this problem and help kids see there are people out there that have a heart and are there to be a true friend. To all parents and kids, stay strong and know that bullies are people that are weak and really dont like themselves. I pray and hope for this Crime to stop. Once again my heart goes out to all of you parents and kids going thru this.

Comment By : A_Friend

My problem is that my son is always being bullied, name calling such as Gay, Fagot and retard have all been threwn his way as well as physical abuse. He has gone to school officials as well as i have numerous time, Nothing is ever done to correct the problem, Also it seems as it is a he said she said type of thing, my son says one thing and then the bullies and thier friends report something else, i have even thought about sending my son to school with a small tape recorder to tape what these kids are saying to him. I am so affraid one day he may try to take his own life, I am calling our local commmunity services board to see what if any help they can be. Something has got to happen, bullying is so like altering and it leaves behind scars that stay with the victims thier entire lives.

Comment By : mommie2him

* Dear ‘mommie2him’: You are right to be concerned about bullying and to contact school officials about it. It’s not acceptable that the bullying continues. It’s up to us parents and the school administration to make sure children are learning in a safe environment. We recommend that you continue to notify, and challenge the school. Sometimes the school will assume that bullying has stopped if we [parents] stop informing them that it continues. Listen to what your child is telling you and try to hear who is involved, how and where each incident takes place. Give factual reports to the school every time it occurs. Put these reports in writing. If you find that working only with the teachers is inadequate, contact the school’s principal or the school superintendent. You and your son have a right to expect that the bullying will stop. And of course, if you are concerned that your son may harm himself, get him in touch with a professional counselor, or in an emergency situation, take him to your local hospital’s emergency room. We wish you the best as you continue to advocate for your child.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

I have a seven year old son who has been dealing with a bullying since October of 2009. The bullying went from name calling and teasing to physical abuse that has contined until recently May 24, 2010. I've been to the school numerous about of times about this situation but yet the other student that is responsible for the the bullying remains in school. My son has tried informing his teacher that he was being hit and she informed him that she didn't believe him. I don't know what to do next. I'm being ignored by the school, and now my son is now afraid tell his reacher about any incidents that happen to him. He also informed me that he thinks he should just be friends with this student so he can stop being picked on. What do I do? I'm at my wits end and feel all alone in this situation. Please Help!!

Comment By : Helpless

* Dear ‘Helpless’: Keep asking your son to tell you about the bullying incidents. Write down when they happened, who was involved and what happened. Give written reports to the school. If his classroom teacher is not responding to these reports, make sure the school principal and the superintendent of schools receives copies. It’s important to report to the school each and every time an incident occurs so that they know the problem continues and they’re able to give a consistent consequence each time school rules are violated. It’s not your son’s behavior that needs to change—it’s the bully’s behavior.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

My daughter who is 8 years old has been coming home complaining of feeling sick all the time. Eventually I found out from my daughter that she was being bullied and did not want to go to school. Yesterday a group of 3 girls who are usually her 'so called' friends all turned on her. They threw grass in her face, threatened to punch her in the face, sat in class all afternoon talking about her and said they she is never allowed to walk with them in the school grounds. When my daughter tries to sit down in class they will move from her, they tease her about everything from what she does outside school to her puppy dog. My daughter was so upset that she vomited during class. I am incrediably concerned with the situation and there has to be something done with bullying in schools TODAY. I am fed up with the way children are being treated in schools? How do we handle this situation? What needs to be put into place? I have been to the school and spoken to the prinicipal/teacher 2 times but I am afraid that nothing seems to have changed. This has been going on for over a year now and I don't know what to do? I am thinking that maybe I should move schools but then I am concerned that it could happen there too?? Please any suggestions?

Comment By : concernedmum

* Dear ‘concernedmum’: As discouraging as it is, keep up your efforts to advocate for your child and all kids in her school system. It’s up to us parents and the school administration to make sure children are learning in a safe environment. We recommend that you continue to notify the school in writing each time when an incident occurs. If you find that working only with the teachers or school’s principal is inadequate, contact your local Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and the school superintendent. You and your daughter have a right to expect that the bullying will stop. For more information on what to do about bullying, refer to the web site of the United States Department of Health and Human Services “Bullying is Not a Fact of Life” at: http://mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/publications/allpubs/svp-0052/#six. You can also find information on laws and policies regarding bullying by using this web address: http://www.olweus.org/public/bullying_laws.page. We wish you the best as you continue to advocate for your child.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

This article is good but like many other good resources out there, the communication side deals mostly with older children. I would like to see more resources on dealing with pre-school and kindergarten aged bullying. Communicating in the way this article presents is more difficult because often the young child doesn't have that level of communication skills. I'm finding in the case of young bullying even many teachers/administrators don't take it seriously. I'm often told that children that young can't bully -- but the bruises around my 5yr olds neck told a much different story.

Comment By : Bulliedbabies

my 11year old son is being verbally bullied out of school hours when he is out with his friends all the children who go to our local playpark have also started name calling to my son .he comes home really upset and angry that he cant go out to play with his friends because every where he goes someone always starts the name calling we just moved to this town a few months ago although he has gone to school in this area for a few years and knows a few people this name calling started with one boy who also hit my son since then every1 at the local playpark torments my son i have asked the bullies to leave my son alone at my sons request but they just give me cheek and abuse and do not listen i dont know where they live or most of there names so i cant speak to parents ,i know its only verbal name calling but my son has lost all confidence and self esteem and it breaks my heart because i feel helpless as i have tried to difuse the situation my son was retaliating back at the bullies but his anger has made them bully even more ,e has tried to ignore them to but he cant enjoy himself when he is out due to them always at him i am at a loss on what to do they dont listen to any adult and my son has often wished he was dead, he doesnt want to move areas again as he has his friends here and school but he is just so unhappy

Comment By : chaze31

* Dear ‘chaze31’: It’s good to hear that your son has friends, likes living where you have moved and likes his school. But it’s very sad to hear that there are some kids who are picking on him. Try not to over-react because you want your son to continue to be able to talk to you about his experience of being bullied. Ignoring verbal abuse is a good tactic. Usually if bullies get no response, they get bored. Tell your son to stay in a group when he’s out and to always let you know where he is going and with whom. At some point it may make sense to avoid this bully and play somewhere else with his friends. It’s not fair but sometimes it’s the best temporary solution. Pay attention to any remarks he makes about wishing he were dead by having him speak to a professional counselor who can assess his safety. Teach your child to be proud of who he is. Something as simple as visiting over family dinners together can make a tremendous difference in a child’s sense of self-worth and contribute to his realization that he deserves to be treated respectfully by others.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

My 14 year old daughter recently had a girl in her high school state she doesn't like her and wanted to beat her up. We hoped this was just trash talking that tough girls like to do to keep thier reputation as being tough. Days later in the hallway the girl pulled a knike out and showed it to our daughter saying she was going to stick her with it but then put it away. My daughter immediatly went to the principal who notified the laison officer and an investigation was started which so far has resulted in the girl being expelled from the high school. The very next day one of the girls friends, a boy, pushed my daughter into the lockers in the hallway and told her she had better watch her a**. the incident was caught on video tape and the boy was brought in but so far we don't know if anything is being done to him. To make matters worse, the mean girl has other friends who my daughter feels are also a threat to her now. It has only been 3 days, the first was the day the girl showed the knife, the second was the day the boy shoved her and when we heard of the whole incident, and the third day we kept our daughter out of school. Now the principal is telling us it is safe and we cannot keep her out of school. We are all scared now and not sure what to do. How can we ever be sure there isn't going to be someone connected to this girl who is going to harm our child at school? What are our rights regarding keeping our daughter out of school? I am seriously thinking of getting an attourney to help keep me out of trouble with the school now.

Comment By : rayden

* Your daughter certainly has had a frightening experience. It’s important that these types of threats and bullying incidents are brought to the schools attention, just as you did. In some cases parents do contact police and/or seek legal counsel if their child has suffered mental anguish or physical injury. You may be able to find out more information regarding your rights and obligations for school attendance by contacting the Superintendent in your child’s school district. Refer to this web site for more answers and support: Stop Bullying Now. We wish your family the best.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

My daughter is in 11th grade and has had a small group of girls taunting her and posting internet slurs about her. They are smart enough not to mention names or to directly threaten her. The last straw was Wednesday when one of these girls left her seat to go to my daughters' desk where she got very close and rolled her body at my daughter. My daughter stood up and told her to go back to her seat or she would hit her. My daughter was expelled for 5 days. My daughter is being bullied by girls who are smart enough to get the best of her without appearing to be doing anything. I now have an appt. with the principal to appeal the suspension. I have a good kid but this group of girls has now made her not want to go to school and it has drastically affected her school work.

Comment By : kathy

* Dear Kathy: These are really tough situations to handle. We’re sorry to hear your family is going through this. One recommendation we would have is to NOT ask the school to modify your daughters’ suspension. Parents and teachers need to work together—acting swiftly and decisively when incidents of bullying occur. It is good school policy to have consequences in place that protect other students. Removing kids from the school for a period of time is appropriate when there is a threat to do physical harm. As frustrating as it is that those who bully your daughter have not been caught in the act, the fact of the matter is, your daughter has been caught. Allow her to experience the consequence of her behavior and let her know you support the school’s rules and discipline decisions.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

my grandson, who has been diagnosed with ADHD and DDS is having issues with his teacher. She wrote on her FB page one day that she loves "most" of her students. When my grandson gets picked on, she tells him to sit down and shut up. When he got hit one day, she told him he wasn't bleeding and to sit down and shut up. When he has problems with some of his work, she tells him that she's already explained it to the class! When he becomes upset and starts yelling or acting out, she removes him from the classroom instead of working with him. We are at a loss as to what to do.... What are our options? He's never had issues like this and his other teachers mentioned they've had little issues, but NOTHING like this teacher is complaining about. She won't take the time to help him.....she just "pushes him aside".... When he was speaking with a child, she had the kids move away from him, leaving him alone!! How does she think that makes him feel??

Comment By : barbijean

My daughter is 13 and in seventh grade.She is being bullied by four girls in her class, one of them being someone she has know practically from birth. These particular girls were her best friends until 2-3 weeks ago (at least that's what they used to tell her) and now all they do is call her a b*tch and F*ggot in school everytime they see her and send her fake emails saying they are sorry and want to be friends again but she doesn't respond because she believes it is a set-up. Thankfully she has another group of friends that she is close to and can rely on during this but she is still devastated by how these girls turned their backs on her for no apparent reason. I truly believe that the "ringleader" is mentally unstable and needs professional help and the others are just following along because she is VERY large and menacing and they don't want to be subjected to her abuse. My daughter cries alot now and is SO angry but I am afraid that this has affected her more than she is telling me and what she may do to herself. She did come to me and request I make her an appointment with a doctor so that she can talk to someone about her feelings so that's a start but I still don't know how to help her through this other than listen and give her the advice that "these girls are not worth thinking about if they can turn on you and treat you like this. Just forget about them, ignore it and focus on the good things that you have. They are only tring to get a reaction out of you and when you don't give them what they want they will get bored and move on." Boy I hope I am right

Comment By : lisa

* Dear barbijean: Thanks for your question on how to interact with your grandson’s teacher. You’re correct that a teacher should not tell a child to “sit down and shut up.” For your grandson’s sake, it’s worth the effort to find a way for the adults to work together toward the goal of helping your grandson learn this school year. It’s always best to speak directly to the teacher first. Explain your concerns and give the teacher an opportunity to tell you about her techniques. If talking to the teacher one-on-one does not get the results you need, ask to speak with her and the school principal together. You should also ask that the special education director attends these meetings, since your grandson has ADHD. You want the teacher to attend these meetings to have an opportunity to share her perspective. Guard against these meetings becoming confrontational. This will just cause people to defend themselves and stick to their positions instead of encouraging openness to approaching things differently.

Comment By : Carole Banks, Parental Support Line Advisor

My 5yr old Grandson is be bullied at school by a child that has recently joined the school, the bullying has gone beyond name calling, and my grandson is coming home with bruises on the body and face, from punches and bites, my daughter has been to the school on several occasions but still the bullying is carrying on, where do we go next? by the way, the other child (bully) is only 5 himself

Comment By : Tess

* Dear Tess, It sounds like you are really concerned for your grandson. We recommend that you and the child’s mother continue to communicate with the school about what is going on. For more information, please refer to this website about bullying: BeatBullying.org.

Comment By : Sara A. Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

Tess...I am a mother of a kindergartner who is being bullied at school. He has been punched in the face, in the stomach, and recently his teacher told me that he was grabbed and shaken by a fellow kindergartner. It infuriates me. My son and I have visited many times about trying to do and say the right thing. I have talked with the principal and teachers involved. I never imagined this would happen in kindergarten. My son is by no means an angel, but he is a good and sweet child. It's not fair that he is scared to go to kindergarten.

Comment By : momof4

So what if the bully attacks more than one person at a time and when the kids retalliate the bullier runs crying to his mother who then calls the cops on the other kids? What do you do in this instance. When the older brother tries to defend his younger brother from getting kicked and pushed by this bullier and then the cops arrive at your door because he is 13. what do you do when posters start going up in your neighborhood about being gay and fat? Of course we know who is doing it but can we prove it??? It is so frustrating. There is more than one child in this school who has issues with this child but still, all the kids end up in trouble except him. Him and his mother are laughing at everyone but I can tell you I am not laughing. I have been in the same neighborhood for over 11 years and this kid comes in last 2 years and it has been hell. Please tell me, what are our rights and how can I defend my child. He is only 9!!!!! And so is the bully but he has a mouth on him like an 18 year old.

Comment By : anonymous

* Dear ‘anonymous:’ It‘s hard enough when children are bullied at school but it becomes even more difficult when the alleged bully is a neighbor. Our first recommendation is to teach your children some non-violent strategies for handling this situation. For example, they could avoid neighborhood areas where this other kid tends to hang out, and if the alleged bully shows up where your kids are playing, have them leave and come home, or at least go to another area where there is more adult supervision. I’m not sure exactly what your 13 year-old is doing to defend his brother, but focusing on teaching him strategies that exclude threats or physical retaliation will decrease the likelihood of the police showing up at your doorstep. Additionally, it would be helpful to inform the school of the problems your children are having with this other child, and to even call the police if this other child makes threats or becomes physically violent to your children. Create written reports of each incident—give one to the school and keep one for your own records. For more information and ideas, check out Stop Bullying Now, an educational website about bullying for kids and parents alike. You might also check out this website for information on bullying laws in your state. We wish your and your family luck as you continue to work through this.

Comment By : Sara A. Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

My 11 year old son is being picked on by another classmate in his class. It has been occurring all year. I have spoken to the Principal about the incident and was told it was taken care of a few months ago. But my son continues to be picked on by his classmate. To make it worse the teacher is aware of it and told me in a phone conversation that she has addressed the issue with the student but he takes it as a joke. Well, today my son had enough. His classmate teased him in the cafeteria and my son knocked his lunch onto the floor. My son earned a detention for this incident. Tomorrow I am going to the school to attempt to speak to the Principal again. As I read the comments made by other parents on this site, I realized that my son is showing symptoms of being bullied. He calls me to be picked up because he claims to be ill and it's not true. He has thrown up on occassion at school and I had to pick him up early. My son told me that he waited in the bathroom for lunch to be over so that the bully wouldn't bother him. He stayed in the bathroom until it was time to return to class. I am desperately seeking advice. Thank You.

Comment By : angelface

* To ‘angelface’: It can be heartbreaking for parents when their kids are being bullied. If you have talked with the principal and nothing has changed, it might be helpful to keep detailed written records of the bullying incidents and go to the next level. StopBullying.gov has resources for parents just like you, including advice on what to do if you are working with the school and not seeing any changes. It might also be helpful to get some local support for your son, someone who can work with him on coping skills such as a school counselor or local therapist. You can locate supports in your area by visiting www.211.org and entering your zip code. 211 is an information and referral service run by the United Way. You can also try dialing 2-1-1 from your phone (landlines work best). We wish you luck as you continue to work through this. Take care.

Comment By : Sara A. Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

thank you for this article i think teachers should read it becouse you said most of the time the teachers dont know about the bulling my daughter is in the 5th grad and is being teased and the teacher called me today saying my daughter is a lier and no one is teasing her and i think thats wrong just becouse she has not heard the teasing

Comment By : amanda

HELP!! My daughter is 13 yrs old & is be bullied & I don't know what to do! It's happening at school,on facebook & also out of school.. They are calling her all sorts of names that are too bad for me even to mention. my daughter has been sticking up for herself but this weekend she got into a fight with 1 of the girls. The girl started a fight with my daughter & now my daughter is getting bullied about the fight. I've been speaking with the school principle & these girls are TROUBLE!! My daughter doesn't want me to go to the police cuz she's afraid of retaliation from these girls. I'm at my wits end. My daughter is a very good kid & has a big heart & I know this is really starting to affect her. What can I do?????

Comment By : annonymous

* To ‘annonymous’: It can be so heartbreaking to see your child in pain. We recommend that you keep working with the school and talk with your daughter about whether or not she thinks she can handle this on her own. If she doesn’t, and if working with the principal isn’t changing anything, then it might help to get some more support, such as from the school counselor or social worker. You might also go up to the next level such as the school board or superintendent. It can’t hurt to keep records of any incidents that occur and to communicate this information to the school in writing. Also, help your daughter with problem solving skills—how can she react effectively to the bullying (school counselors are often really good at helping with this)? Also, discuss how your daughter can help herself feel better when she is feeling sad or angry. Keep in mind that if there are threats made to your daughter’s safety at any time it is far better to go to the police and risk your daughter being angry with you than to risk that these girls might follow through. Please refer to the following websites for more information: Stop Bullying Now and State and Federal Bullying Laws. We wish you and your daughter luck as you continue to work through this.

Comment By : Sara A. Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

I have a 10 year old son who has had a bulling problem since school started in August of 2010. he is coming home telling me every day that he is beeing teased and the teachers are't doing anything about it.I have talked to the principal and the teachers about this but they keep telling me that if they don't see it they can't do anything about it. My son makes himself volmet,and prolongs in the morning to not get to school on time. What do I do when the teachers and the principle covers their but and make it look like my son isnt telling them when he is.They tell him to just ignore it and go on.

Comment By : bobbie.w

* To ‘bobbie.w’: It sounds like the bullying your son is experiencing is having a pretty significant effect on him—he’s either so upset about going to school and facing the bullies that he gets physically ill, or he is inducing the vomiting himself as a way to appear to be ill. It’s hard for me to decipher which is the case (I’m sure you know which it is), but regardless, the first step here is to get some additional support, such as from the school counselor or a local counselor or therapist outside of the school to help your son develop some more effective coping skills. Stop Bullying Now, a government-run website about bullying, provides information about how to get help. You can click on the link that says “Contact your counselor or other health professional” to search for counselors in your area. We encourage you to hang in there and stay persistent. Take care.

Comment By : Sara A. Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

My 10 year old son is being bullied at home and at school. It got so bad at home, we ended up having to take him to the ER because the neighbor boy sprayed him in the eyes with a corrosive cleaner. The parents apologized, but now my son is acting out at school. He;s loosing his temper and getting into fights with the boys picking on him. At home he won't go outside at all. We've talked to the school, they said they would keep an eye on the situation and that they have a "no bulling" policy. Some policy. I am now driving my son to and from school and he is still getting into fights(which results in him being sent home, which he loves!) He doesn't want to go back to school. He wakes up crying and seems to be taking his situation out on everyone around him.HELP!! Should I take him to a counselor? Should I try to transfer him to another school? People say to go to the school board, but my son is also fighting, albeit he's fighting the bullies....Please! Does anyone have any advice?

Comment By : J'smom

* Dear ‘J’smom’: It sounds like your son is really having a tough time dealing with the conflict he is experiencing with the boys at school. Some kids do turn to aggression as an attempt to teach the bullies a lesson and get them to stop. When kids are being bullied we do recommend advocating for your child within the school and taking it to the next level such as the superintendent or school board if the situation isn’t getting better. Also, when bullying starts to cause functional problems for children, such as acting out and school refusal, that’s your cue that more support may be needed, whether it’s from the school counselor or a local mental health counselor, or some other source. You can get more information and a link to search for local counselors at StopBullying.gov. In the meantime, it would be helpful to talk with your son at home about how he can cope when he’s feeling angry and what he can do differently when he’s being bullied other than being aggressive. We wish you and your family luck as you continue to work through this.

Comment By : Sara A. Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

Thank you for having this website. For one, I do not feel alone. My daughter transitioned this year from 5th grade to middle school. She had a group of friend all through out elementary school, and last summer, she and one of her best friends, had a falling through, (due to bullying, which is another story), when 6th grade started, this friend someone alienated her from everyone else. I can only imagine what she has told her classmates, and now the most common thing she hears is "Go away, leave me alone, don't talk to me". Why are kids so mean? There was bullying when I was in school, which was over 15 years ago, but not to this extent. And you have to open up. Your telling me that the teachers do not have one clue that any of this is going on? I know the teachers have rules and guidelines they have to follow but there also comes a point when they have to step in. While us as parents, cannot be there at school 8 hours a day to guide over our children, it's then the responsibility of the Administration to do so. Someone has to take some responsibility, and then do something about it. I just wish for once, one of these girls doing the bullying, would be bullied themselves, so they can see what it feels like, and I know, I am not the only parent who feels this way. Thank you.

Comment By : MGoldenredz

My son is 6 years old, he just started Kindergarten Sept. 2010. He has been riding the morning and after school bus since the beginning of school. There is a boy on the bus that he befriended at the beginning of the school year. This boy is in first grade. It began as a friendship where they see each other on the afterschool bus and would talk to each other and sometimes play games. By the middle of the year, the boy began teasing my son and not allowing my son to interact with other little boys on the school bus. From what my son describes, it seems to me the boy began to become possessive of my sons attentions. In December, the boy evidently punched my son because he couldn't get my son to do something he wanted my son to do. My son was crying. We informed the principal, the principal apparently spoke to the boy and we thought that would scare the boy from continuing any further situations. Recently, the boy pretended to be nice to my son and being so naive and innocent, my son spoke to him. The boy told my son he wanted to play a game of pretend fighting, which my son agreed to play with him. Once my son agreed, the boy took my sons glasses right off his face, broke it in half, and handed it back to my son without saying a single word to my son. My son started crying hysterically. Mind you, all of these incidents only occurred on the bus. By the time I get my son, he is the last child to get off the bus, he is crying hysterically. Please, please, please, help advise me on what is the proper procedure I need to follow to make sure I get justice for my son.

Comment By : madjan

* To ‘madjan’: This is a tough situation. As a parent it is very natural to feel protective of your son and want justice. The hard part is, I am not sure you will get the sense of justice you are looking for as schools often cannot reveal what kind of discipline they dole out to a student who is not your child. The best thing you can do here is to first talk to the Principal about what happened. If you do not get the kind of results you want, you might also talk to the Superintendent or the School Board. After that, it is best to work with your son on what he can do differently to handle his interactions with this child. For example, if this boy (or any child for that matter) invites your son to “pretend fight” how can he respond instead of agreeing? He could say “No thanks” or suggest a more appropriate activity instead, for example. Both your son and this other child are young children who lack social problem solving skills so the more you can help your son with that the better. I am including a link to another article about what parents can do when their child is being bullied as well as a website about bullying: Stop Bullying Now. I think these resources will be very helpful to you. Good luck as you continue to work through this.

Comment By : Sara A. Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

My oldest son was being bullied and while the school was working hard to help stop it nothing seemed to work. Then at a PTA meeting my husband mentioned to another parent what was happening and it turned out there were more kids being bullied by this particular group of kids. We got together and talked with our kids and each other. We all went to the school and requested a meeting in regard to this situation. While the parents of the bullies denied the kids doing anything wrong. Things started to get better, not perfect but better for my son and the other kids who were being bullied. Together we can make a difference and empower all of our children to be better and do better by others.

Comment By : tomilynne

My son is pretty popular with his 1st grade class and from what I gather another little boy didn't like this and started shoving my son. It frightened my son and he didn't know how to react so I told him "the next time he shoves you, I want you to hit him as hard as you can and as many times as you can." He said he didn't want to get in trouble and I told him that myself and his mother were the only people that mattered in that regard and that we were ok with whatever he did to the other kid. Of course, the teacher who let this crap go on called us in about our child being the bully. We sat there for about two minutes and silently we stood up and walked out. She kept trying to call us back but we refused. Interestingly enough we haven't heard anymore out of her and our son summarily handled his bully. The two are now friends and the little guy has been over for sleep overs, as well as my son to his house.

Comment By : DoubleRFather

Bullying will be around for a long time to come because schools, police, and even some parents still take the old approach of "let him handle it himself, he has to learn to stand up to them himself" which basically means they couldn't be bothered to help the person being bullied.At schools, they can't be bothered or like to pretend that their school is different and bully-free. Not enough is being done.

Comment By : maddy

my 11 year old son has been bullied for the past two years ,iv been to the school atleass twice a week seen the head teacher and threatend with criminal proceedings. its breaking my heart as hes getting angrier everyday and blaming me as im the person whos meant to stop this. he also has aspergers syndrome which makes it difficult to form friendships. hes going into secondary school september and im dreading it as i know its going to be so much harder for him with there being so many other children .iv had to fight for every bit of help hes received so far ,which isnt alot ,ijust dont know what else to do ,please can anyone help me .

Comment By : colette

as much as im trying to help my 11 year old son cope with the bullying and the abuse he gets inside and outside school,there isnt enough punishment dealt out to the bullies.were advised to take our kids out of school or get them counceling but they arnt the ones with the problem,the teachers know who these bullies are why arnt they doing somthing,its easier for them to send the child to counceling or have the child move school,than deal with ignorant parents who either dont know or care what their child is doing in school or out of it.iknow this seems harsh but iv come across this time and time again.

Comment By : colette

* Colette: It is indeed heartbreaking to see your child hurting, and it’s even harder to feel powerless to make it better. You are doing the right thing. Continue to communicate with the school about what is going on and report any bullying to them. If you talk to the person in charge at the school and feel that you are and your son are not getting the results you want, take your report to the next level, the next highest person in charge. It might also be helpful for you to contact the school counselor at the start of the school year to see how that person can help your son. For example, he or she might be able to meet with your son regularly and support him through the transition, or help him learn some new social skills that will be helpful to him. You might also want to check out www.beatbullying.org for more information that can help you and your son. We wish you both luck as you continue to work through this. Take care.

Comment By : Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

We live in a very small town and there are only 8 kids in my 7-yr old daughter's class. One girl runs the class. She is related to one other child in the group is lives close to several others, She is very small but is also very smart. She has decided that my daughter cannot be a part of the group in any way and continually find reasons why she can't play with them. This has been going on for 3 years. I've tried to talk to the parents, but they say their daughter says our daughter does stuff (which is un-true, she is simply deflecting), and they also say that they don't want to upset their daughter. Now one of the girls wants to play with my girl, but the bully is beside herself and has taken to saying she hates my daughter and wants her to be out of 2nd grade because she is stealing her friend. Again, nothing has been done. My daughter just wants someone to play with. The teacher has taken the "they can work it out" mentality, but, like I said, this has been going on for 3 years, and it's only getting worse. I don't know what to do. It's a small town, so there aren't a lot of choices for friends and just walking away form the bully....help!!!

Comment By : Carla

* To Carla: It hurts so much to see your daughter hurting and struggling. If you don’t feel that the teachers have been handling your concerns appropriately or effectively, it might be helpful to talk to the principal. You could also take your concerns higher up the ladder (if you don’t see any changes after talking with the principal), to the school board or the superintendent for example. Here is a website about bullying that offers some more suggestions: StopBullying.gov. In the meantime, continue to work with your daughter to develop some effective ways she can respond to her bully. Here is another article with more helpful information: Is Your Child Being Bullied? 9 Steps You Can Take as a Parent. We wish you and your daughter luck as you continue to work through this.

Comment By : Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

My son is being tormented by the boy next door. He used to beat him up almost everyday. My son would always complain to me to tell his mon Finally I told my son to stop playing with him if he is being mean which his mother did not like. So she started calling other neighbors and would say bad things infront of those kids and they together started bullying him with his mother's support. His mom supports him in all the tormenting. She invites all the kids in the neighborhood to play but when my son asks she tells no. All the kids goes to the same school and also the same bus. So he knows all of them and he really wants to play with the kids in the neighborhood. But our neighbor will not let any of the kids to mingle with him. She has bad mouthed to all the neighbors saying my son is very bad kid etc. We are new to this neighborhood also. So nobody comes to our house even though we called them several times. Now she says dont play with kids in this neighborhood, find some other kids, she says. Even if we find other kids to play with, we cannot move the house there. So what should we do in this situation. Is there anybody I can complain to. We both are from same country of origin.

Comment By : bulliedkid

* To ‘bulliedkid’: It sounds like your heart aches for your son and all that he is going through right now. This sounds like a very challenging situation. We recommend that you discuss your concerns to the administrators at your son’s school and perhaps talk to the school guidance counselor to see how she can help your son. Check out this anti-bullying website for more information and suggestions: www.StopBullying.gov. We are so sorry to hear that you and your son are going through this. We hope that you see some positive changes in the situation soon. Take care.

Comment By : Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

My daughter used to regularly get teased, threatened and beaten up at school. We did the early intervention, talk to the teachers,principal,school board and no one ever did anything about it. The police said its out of their hands because its a school matter as it always happened on school property. We ended up having to change schools to get her away from the 3 people who were always responsible. Now even though we did everything in our power to prevent it, my daughter has a severe case of p.t.s.d. The roman catholic seperate school board in my location failed miserably in the case of my daughter.

Comment By : Bulliesrcowards

My 9 year old is being bullied by a girl in her class. This Girl has been in my daugther's class the past 2 years and was a constant aggravation and now she is in my daughter's 4th grade class. My daughter has not liked school in 3 years and this year she likes her teacher and likes going to school. My daughter has many medical issues including Juvenile Arthritis(JA), Uveitis, ADHD, ODD, chronic ear infections and major mood swings. My daughter is out of school a lot due to all her issues and is often tardy due to fatigue from the JA. This bully was used to being the teacher's pet and this year that isn't happening. She has caused some grief in the past, but this year, since Aug 25th, she has been hitting hard. She recently told others there is nothing wrong with my daughter and she is just pretending. My daughter had to use the elevator a few weeks ago due to her ankle bothering her and having to use crutches and the bully said she's just faking it so she can use the elevator. The next week, the bully went to school with a so called hurt arm and she used the elevator. The bully has come between my daughter and her BFF, been best friends since kindergarten. The bully is bullying my daughter's BFF into being mean to my daughter and not being friends with her. At lunch she snatches the BFF down in the seat beside her so she won't go sit with my daughter. My daughter already suffers from depression and anxiety as well as all her other issues and this bully is reaking havic on her already over stressed immune system. My daughter has a suppressed immune system due to the meds she takes for JA. She has had a bacterial infection for the past 2 months that won't go away due to her immune system and will be having surgery as soon as it can be scheduled. The bully knows my daughter's vulnerable and she preys on that. The bully is a bigger than my daughter who is on the small side. I have talked to my daughter, her BFF's mother and emailed her teacher already. What do you do when this has been ongoing and now has progressed to the point it is altering my daughter's emotional state and her liking school? She was so excited about school this year after finding out her BFF was in her class for the first time since 1st grade, she likes her teacher and all, but this one bully girl has got to go! Can I take legal action to have her removed from the class? What can I do at this point? I don't want this to linger as it is having a major impact on my daughter.

Comment By : Ttownyvonne

* To ‘Ttownyvonne’: I can tell how much it’s hurting you to see your daughter being treated the way she is by her peer. I imagine this is incredibly difficult for both of you. What we recommend is that you take your concerns to the school principal. It is also helpful to keep some documentation of each incident including all of the facts and present written accounts to the principal after each incident. If you do not see any results soon after talking to him or her, the next step is to take it to the next person up the administrative ladder, whether that is the school board, superintendent, or some other person. In this case it might also be helpful to seek the support of some other school staff such as the school counselor or school social worker to ensure that your daughter has the maximum amount of support possible at school. You could also try calling the United States Anti-Bullying Hotline at 908-272-0631. www.StopBullying.gov has some helpful information and resources as well. We are very sorry to hear that you and your daughter are going through this. We hope this situation improves promptly for you both. Take care.

Comment By : Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

My daughter is 16 and since she was in grade 9 she was being mentally abused by 2 sisters, and this is going on for quite sometime, right now my daughter is in grade11, i often get angry on getting messages from my daughter what is happening, I wanted to go to school to talk to the teacher, but my daughter keeps warning me off that the sister will spread talks that she is a baby child going to complain to mummy, and all sorts of names, this is what prevented me from going trying to get the issue resolve, until at this time i think it is getting out of hand, because at this moment, each and every one of my daughter friend are being pulled away by these sisters, telling them all kind of things about my daughter where the whole class room stop speaking to my daughter, a friend of hers, my daughter, who lives down the street and goes to another school, told my daughter last saturday, that these sisters told them a good bit of things about my daughter, and this my daughter didnt tell me what, but I can see in her eyes that she has reached to a point that she cant take it anymore. i told her now it is time to talk to your teacher, she told me ok, that is on last Monday, tuesday she came home telling me that the teacher call the 2 girls parents and talk to them about it, I told my daughter why didnt the teacher call all of you guys in the office and speak it all of you to see if they can resolve the problem, I dont seem to understand this, but my daughter dont want me to go to school and she feels ashame if I do. I am having restless sleep, for I am a single parent, who was not too long ago ill, with hypertension, Please advise me what to do. thank you

Comment By : Gayma

Here's some further advice that I picked up while I was worried about my child being cyberbullied. Act immediately. Your child needs to know that you can and will help. Don't wait to see if the abuse will stop. If you feel that your child is physically at risk, call the police at once. Every effort should be made to find the cyberbully and hold him or her accountable. If the bully is a student consider reporting it to the school. Report bullying to the website where the bullying is happening. Many services have moderators and places to report abuse—for example, abuse@microsoft.com. Ask cell phone companies to track calls and take action. Tell your kids not to respond to the cyberbully or retaliate because bullies are looking for a reaction. Don't answer phone calls, or reply to (or even read) text messages or comments. Block cyberbullies. Most web services will allow you to block anyone whose behavior is inappropriate or threatening in any way. Check with the service— social networking, IM, cell phone—to find out how. Save the evidence. Save text messages, emails, and other evidence of cyberbullying in case the authorities need it. I found this advice helpful when my daughter was being bullied. She was receiving phone calls and text messages that upset her but she would delete them and not show them to me. I wanted to keep an eye on her but she would not let me. So I got an app for her phone called Mobileminder that allowed me to access her messages and call logs from the internet. I could see who was contacting her and what they were saying. It even allowed me to see where she was and where she had been throughout the day! As I now had a record of the calls and messages to show to the principal of the school, we got the situation sorted out quickly and there has been no problems since - although I keep Mobileminder on her phone to ensure nothing like this happens again. If you fear that you're child is being bullied, I would really recommend that you use this service. Here's a link to the website - http://www.mobileminder.com/index.php

Comment By : Helen M

* To ‘Gayma’: It can be so incredibly hurtful to see your child struggling with being bullied by peers. Many kids do fear retaliation and social isolation and it can keep them from getting the help they need sometimes. You could start by asking your daughter if she feels like this is something she can handle on her own. If so, talk with her regularly about some effective ways that she can respond to the bullying. If not, then talk together about some of the options she has to get more support such as 1) you talking to the teacher or school counselor, 2) your daughter initiating a meeting with the school counselor, or 3) you making an appointment with a counselor or therapist outside of the school for her to talk to. Ultimately, it is the school’s responsibility to handle bullying and your responsibility to advocate for your daughter. What I mean by this is that if your daughter won’t choose either solution you come up with, or continues to struggle after taking action, it may be necessary for you to talk to the school counselor yourself to find out what else can be done. Here is another article with more ideas and suggestions for you. Is Your Child Being Bullied? 9 Steps You Can Take as a Parent. We wish you both luck as you continue to work through this. Take care.

Comment By : Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

My daughter is in the 7th grade. She has always been a happy and socially accepted by everyone. Later, a couple of girls will make plans with her only to ignore the plans and do something with someone else and tell her ,in front of other girls that either the girl forgot or never said she would be with her. My daughter says "Mom, you are more upset about this than I am" and will go out and set herself to be hurt by these "popular" girls. I think this is being bullied. How can I help her get through this? I am worried her self esteem will be lowered if this continues. I remember that 7th grade is a rough year for girls. I want to make it easier for her to handle or deal with.

Comment By : a worried mother

* Hi ‘a worried mother’: It sounds as though you are very concerned for your daughter and how she is being treated by these other girls. As Peggy points out in the article, one thing you can do as a parent is to let your daughter talk about this and not try to solve the problem for her. If she talks with you about one of these girls ignoring plans, listen in a non-judgmental way, and then you can talk with her about what she can next time one of these girls wants to make plans with her. For example, you may say something like “It sounds like when you make plans with Julie, she insists that you two never made plans. What do you think you can do the next time she wants to make plans?” Let her come up with the solutions, so that way she feels she has more control over the situation. One helpful resource on how to deal with bullying is www.stopbullying.gov; this website gives helpful information on how to address this with your daughter, and some possible resources for you as well. Good luck, and we wish you the best.

Comment By : Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor

I dont get why this is happening in Kindergarten and all my kid did was stand up to a bully because he was picking on her girlfriend in fact spiting on this poor little girl. What can we do as parents to stop this

Comment By : Lela Merry

* To Lela M: It sounds like a tough situation you are experiencing with your child, and one that most parents do not expect to deal with as early as kindergarten. As a parent, you have a couple different things you can do. First is to talk with your child about the bully, and what happened. Try to be as open-minded and nonjudgmental as you can. Ask “What can you do the next time this happens?” and “What will make you feel better about this?” Have your child come up with solutions to deal with the bullying, and talk through the options. Another option is to talk with your child’s teacher about what happened. As mentioned in the article, make an appointment to meet with the teacher after school to bring up your concerns, and then you can check in with him or her later to follow up on the plan to take care of the bullying. I am attaching another article about bullying that you might find helpful: Is Your Child Being Bullied? 9 Steps You Can Take as a Parent. Good luck to you and your family as you continue to work through this.

Comment By : Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor

My niece is 14 and on the jv basketball team and the whole team has been bullying her so hard she wants to quit the team and move to a diffrent school. They see her in the halls and walk by telling her they wish she was dead or hope she dies on the way home they evan knock her books out of her lockeras they go by . She is a great basketball player possibly good enough for a scholarship one day, but what's the point if she hates going to school and practice and cries everyday. She has always been strong willed but these girls have broke her down and she is willing to give up everything to get away from it. My sister has been to the coaches twice and then to the priniciple and the only thing that was said is what did she do to provoke it. If they want at least try to help what are we suppose to do. It is not fair that she has to be that misserable because they don't want to punish the whole team.concerned aunt

Comment By : concerned aunt

* To ‘concerned aunt’: It can be really hard to see a child you care about going through such a difficult ordeal. Your sister is right in reporting the bullying to the coach and the school administrators and it’s a good idea that she continue to do so. Please direct her to www.StopBullying.gov for more ideas and information. They have a section of their website that talks about what to do when you’ve reported bullying and it doesn’t stop. We wish your family luck. Take care.

Comment By : Sara Bean. M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

my 11 yr old daughter has been bullied at school by the same 2 people for the past 3 years.it has changed her attitude,she is a very dark,low self esteemed child now.i have contacted the school several times and requested meetings with the pricipal and/or parents to no avail.the principal calls me back and says that he has talked to the kids and its worked out,but it is not stopping!she was even threatened by a classmate with a pocket knife 4 weeks ago and the school has yet to punish the child,stating that he needs to talk to school board members and discuss what needs done! really?? my question to you is what do I do now that the school is obviously not on board with the anti-bullying laws in schools?

Comment By : concernedmom

* To ‘concernedmom’: It sounds like you are quite frustrated by this situation and feeling that these incidents are being taken too lightly by your daughter’s school. The fact that your daughter was threatened by a student with a pocket knife is certainly frightening. One thing you can try when peers make threats against your daughter’s safety is calling your local police department. I’m not sure how they can help, but it’s definitely an option to consider. You might also start submitting your concerns in writing to the school and to the school board as well. When you are not getting any results at the school level it can be helpful to take it up the ladder to the next person or group in command. In your letters, be sure to include as many facts as possible about what is going on and also keep a copy for your own records. You can refer to this website for more information: www.stopbullying.gov. We know this isn’t easy. Good luck to you and your daughter as you continue to work through this.

Comment By : Sara Bean. M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

My 12 year old son is small for his age. His pediatrician recommended a growth hormone study and everything turned out fine. However, at 12 years old, he only weighs 70 pounds and is shorter than all of the children in his class. I just found out how hurtful the other children's comments are. Everyone in school teases him about his height. He recently broke down crying and told me all about it. He doesn't want me to say anything to anyone at school because he already gets called a tattletale if he tells the teacher he is being picked on. I'm at a loss about what to do. My heart is breaking to know he has to go endure that teasing every day. What can I do to keep us both from crying ourselves to sleep at night?

Comment By : concernedmom

* To 'concernedmom': It is so hurtful to see your child have to endure teasing and hurtful comments from others at school. It can be hard to know what to do in these situations. We recommend starting with a problem solving conversation with your son, being open and nonjudgmental in your tone. Ask things like “What can you do the next time someone teases you about your size?” and “What is going to make you feel better about this?” Help your son come up with solutions for himself. I hear that your son does not want you to talk with the school at this point, and we recommend talking with your son about when you will need to get involved; for example, if he tries some other solutions and the teasing continues or worsens. A helpful resource for you might be www.stopbullying.gov. This website offers information about bullying, as well as how to address it. Good luck to you and your family as you continue to work through this.

Comment By : Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor

My son was in 1st grade when he entered this small town school. He was bullied every day for not being from there. On the bus ride home a 16 year old boy was asigned seats with him and hit him every day. I called the school every day for a week and even my husband got on the bus and had a talk with the bus driver and the boy him self the day my son came home with pants soked with urine. I finally threated to call the police if they did not put my son on a different bus, they did. In third grade my son came home complaining of headaches and it was because the teacher had sat his desk right at the board and he told us he had to look up all day long. In 4th grade his library teacher grabbed him by the back of the hair and shoved his head in a book. We tried leagal matters but no one would let their children testify. After school he was beat up weekly and I had the police out there all the time but they would always say so much crap they would never help us. We finally ended up leaving our home to help our son and now he has so much hatred and rage. His Dr says he has ODD and ADD. He is very bad towrd me and has hit me 4 times. I love him but I am so scared for his future!!

Comment By : lostmom

my daughter is 10 yrs old and she came home one day from school telling me one of the girls in school is calling her fat, ugly and using profanities on her... I decided to write the teacher a letter to tell her what's been going on. The principal also read the letter and said that she will do what she can and it will be resolved... its been a week now and the situation is still not resolved! other kids are saying other things and pointing fingers on what this one said and that one said... and the part that makes me so confused was these girls were friends at one point. my daughter have received text messages and voice mails from this one girl from school calling her names and using the f bomb and b bomb on her. ( principal was no help) who can I speak to about this... and one other thing this other little girl called my daughter 15 times in the matter of 90 minutes after she was told not to contact my daughter... isn't this considered as harassment? this bully also picks on my daughter about her personal hormones.. ( calling her big boobs!) wouldn't that also be sexually harassment? please help me figure out how to approach this matter thanks

Comment By : concerned parent

* To ‘concerned parent’: It’s never easy for a parent when their child is being bullied and harassed. You were right to submit a written complaint and to try to get some help from the principal. Since you have not seen any changes since then, we recommend taking your complaint to the next level, such as the school board or the superintendent. We recommend that you submit something in writing that presents the facts, and report any incidents that follow this one as well. In the meantime, it would be helpful for you to talk to your daughter about effective ways to respond to her bullies and how she can cope with the hurt this situation is causing her. Getting some support from the school counselor would also be a good idea. Here is another article for more information and ideas: Is Your Child Being Bullied? 9 Steps You Can Take as a Parent. We know this is hard. We wish you luck as you continue to work through this.

Comment By : Sara Bean. M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

I'm at the end of my tether and not sure which way to go. My daughter is 7 and she is being bullied by another girl in her class. It started with teasing last year and I put it down to normal girls falling out but this academic year has been a lot worse with kicking, punching, spitting, name calling, taking friends away from playing with her and tonight I came home to be told that the bully said "I'm going to kill you". I have spoken to the class teacher a few weeks ago and felt that I got nowhere when she said "we'll get them to sit down and talk about things" Well "things" have got worse and I have no confidence in the teachers or the school. It has happened in front of other kids but still the school do nothing. Thankfully my daughter has been open about all that is happening and doesn't seem to be bottling it up and we are noting down everything that happens. What can I do when the school won't action anything? I know this child comes from a very difficult background with parents who have drink problems (I know this because I used to be friends with the mother until I couldn't take her drinking anymore) I know I should feel sympathy for the girl but I want my daughter to be safe and happy above all else.

Comment By : Deelightful

* To ‘Deelightful’: I can see why you are so frustrated and concerned. It’s so hard to see your child going through something like this. You are wise to take notes on what has been happening. We recommend that you try submitting written complaints to the school administrators requesting action. If that doesn’t get you any results you can begin taking your complaints up to the next level such as the superintendent or school board, whoever is above the principal. Also, you might call the non-emergency number for your local law enforcement team to see how they might be able to help when your daughter’s rights are violated, i.e.: when she is kicked, punched, or threatened. Here is another article that will give you some additional ideas: Is Your Child Being Bullied? 9 Steps You Can Take as a Parent. Also, here is an website you can check out for information on bullying in the UK: www.beatbullying.org. We wish you luck as you work through this. Take care.

Comment By : Sara Bean. M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

My son, he's 13, has been bullied ever since kinder and hes in 8th grade now and he's had all kinds of intestinall problems ever since bullying started and i feel horrible that i never noticed it and bareley learned now. He doesnt want me to tell the teachers cause he says it'll just make the kids haye him more and he keeps saying homeschooling and says he cant take it. He's been to a few different schools and they've all teased him and never said anything and he's totally isolated and confidence has been broken and i just wanna know if homeschoolinv is a good idea.

Comment By : Concerned Mother

* To ‘Concerned Mother’: I can see why you are concerned about your son. It’s common for kids to feel like they don’t want the adults at school to know this type of thing is going on for fear of being bullied even more. However, since the bullying is having such a strong affect on him that it’s causing him physical problems it’s going to be a good idea to work closely with someone in your local area as you decide your next step. You might discuss the option of homeschooling with his pediatrician, for example, or call your local school district to get more information on homeschooling, how it works, and whether or not there is any way for your son to connect with other kids who are home schooled if that’s the option you choose. A local therapist or counselor might also be a really helpful resource as you work through this decision. You can find support for your son in your local area by contacting 211, an information and referral service. You can reach them by calling 1-800-273-6222 or by visiting www.211.org. Also, here is another article with some helpful ideas and information: Is Your Child Being Bullied? 9 Steps You Can Take as a Parent. We wish you and your son luck as you work through this. Take care.

Comment By : Sara Bean. M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

My son is 10. Last year due to 2 new arrivals, school decided to split his class in 2 and all his friends were chosen for the other class and my son was chosen with the 3 new boys. We've had many bullying incidents, many due to my son's extremely soft and mild nature. My son was "friends" at the first month of school with one of these boys, he was even called by kid's parents to play at their house, and invited on his birthday. That kid was also with my son on language lessons class but was kicked out at last May due to bullying towards my son and another kid. His parents when called and confronted by the teacher refused to hear any word and chose to believe their son playing innocent and victim. My son would constantly play sick or somehow try to skip these lessons. The top moment was when he somehow managed to poop himself on school and I had to pick him up (still not sure how this happen, his explanation afterward was that he couldn't go to the bathroom because there was no paper and when he reached his final straw he told teacher at class but teacher told him to "wait till the bell rings" and he couldn't hold on anymore). Of course kids wouldn't let that drop. He is constantly being called names, gay, put makeup on etc and pushed to wall to admit "who he loves". He and his sister have been chased till home after school quite a few times. Till now, he haven't done much except a few complains to his teacher. My husband is the violent type, he tried to teach him to stand up for himself, hurt them as much as possible that they'd fear to bully you, but my son is a pacifist, prefers to be bullied that hurt other kids. I am at a loss, been bullied as a kid about my weight and I know that having parents yell at kid or teachers, or having teachers yell at the bully is not helping at all. This year that kid has teamed up with the other new arrivals, the twins and my son is totally excluded from all parties, his old friends slowly given up on him on early fall, only calling to ask him if I'd let em come over so they would play at his computer when they're parents forbid them. I know the rivalry has started due to my son's intelligence, being the kid all teachers state they love and would like to have, while most kids consider him dumb enough, ( I know he is somewhat borderline on that one, being unable to learn how to learn to tie shoes, or unable to find them while just in front of his eyes, while having scored first in IQ test in his class, having earned the label of "autistic" by daycare teachers on his younger years due to his bizarre mathematical ways of playing ). To sum it up, as a child bully victim, I know parents interfering won't help, if not make it worse, he has to somehow stand up on his own, and he is too soft and mild and special case to manage it on his own, he is the kind of high intelligence, unable to deal with mundane everyday stuff and the positive "you're smart, smarter than everyone, you may lack in social but your best characteristic is your intelligence" doesn't lift his ego anymore. what should I do? P.S. He is not autistic, we've check that with a psychologist as soon as daycare teachers demanded us bring expert's opinion in, then we had him removed and put to another which he was accepted instantly and praised fairly for his intelligence.

Comment By : mathsmom

* To 'mathsmom': It is so sad when you see your child being bullied, and it can be upsetting when you were bullied as a child as well. We recommend not taking this personally, and trying to keep your own emotions around being bullied out of the picture. We advise talking with your son about what he can do that will make him feel better when the other kids are teasing him. Come up with a specific plan that he feels comfortable with doing, and it might be helpful to act that out with him so he can practice this response. In the meantime, it might be helpful for you to talk with the teachers about what is going on so they can intervene as necessary. Schools have anti-bullying policies, so it might be helpful for you to find out what your son’s school policy consists of. I am including a link to an article I think you might find helpful as you continue to work through this: Is Your Child Being Bullied? 9 Steps You Can Take as a Parent. Good luck to you and your family as you work on this; we know this isn’t easy.

Comment By : Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor

Very nice article and hits home on a lot of fronts. My 10-year old is a little guy who is very passionate and emotional, so he's going through some of this now. It's a particular challenge because he's the neighbor's kid whom we have known for many years . I wonder if any parents of such aggressive kids have a viewpoint as to what drives them to such behavior? We all really believe our kids are smart and caring - do they monitor such aggressive behavior and do something about it? Just curious.

Comment By : Rusty

my son is 11 and is in 5th grade. This is his first year in this school. He was a straight A student in his previous school. Now, he is failing just about all of his classes. He has ADHD and some mood disorders. He is coming home telling us about what this kid, what that kid has done to him. they rip his homework up, wont play, hit, push and just yesterday he came home with a nice mark on his arm from a girl that hit him with her cast. he has recently complained about head aches. dr ordered a ct scan - but thinks its school related- he has called and wrote to the school saying that my son is getting headaches cause hes getting bullied. I have been to the school numerous times and they dont seem to be doing anything to help my son. Im at my wits end. this school gets state funded money for a "so called anti bullying program" and they arent doing anything. My son has some medical problems and has mental/educational problems also. they are testing him for special ed classes but i dont think he needs them; hes failing cause of being bullied every day. what are the next steps i take in this matter?

Comment By : donna

* Hi Donna. It certainly is concerning that your son is starting to experience headaches as a result of the bullying he is experiencing. It’s heartbreaking as a parent to see your child going through something like this, especially when you don’t feel like the school is addressing your concerns adequately and things don’t seem to be getting any better. One good idea is to put your complaints to the school in writing and be sure to focus on the facts. You might also begin addressing your concerns to the next level of administration, such as a superintendent or school board. Also, seeing how your son is beginning to experience physical symptoms, it’s going to be helpful to work with local supports, such as a local counselor or therapist. This can be beneficial in that your son may be able to learn some effective responses and reactions to bullying, as well as some good ways to cope and take care of himself when he is feeling hurt and upset. A website that we often refer parents to for additional information is www.StopBullying.gov. It has information for parents as well as for kids. If you haven’t already, you might also want to check out one of our other articles about bullying: Is Your Child Being Bullied? 9 Steps You Can Take as a Parent. We’re sorry to hear you and your son are going through this and we hope things start to get better for him soon. Take care.

Comment By : Sara Bean. M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

Help! My ten year old is being bullied at school. The problem is that the boys doing the bullying were once friends with him. He does not have any friends willing to stick up for him and they chase him on the playground until they catch him and knock him down, smash his face into the snow, call him names, etc. My son does not feel that he can stand up to them since there is only one adult monitor on the playground. I have talked with the teacher about this. The teacher has dealt with the kids once before but now tells my son to play somewhere else. When he tries to play soccer away from these kids they follow him. I have talked with the principal about this also and he says when he watches the playground he never notices any problems. These kids are smart enough to know when to do it and when not to of course. I have talked with my son and told him that he needs to report this to his teacher or the principal every single time it happens but he says there are worse things that could happen if he does. What should I do? I am at my wits end and do not know what to do at this point. I do not want my son damaged emotional because of mean kids at school.

Comment By : ConcernedMomofthree

* To 'ConcernedMomofthree': It sounds like you are very upset with what is happening at your son’s school on the playground, and understandably so. No parent wants to be in the position of knowing that their child is being bullied at school. We do recommend continuing to encourage your son to talk with the teacher and/or principal about this every time it happens, and also that you follow up with the teacher and principal as well. It is important that they remain updated on what is happening on school grounds, as they are responsible for maintaining safety and security for the students. In addition to what you have already done, we recommend doing some problem solving with your son about what he can do to help himself feel better in this situation. While he doesn’t have any control over what the other kids are doing, he can control his response. Some possible options might be going to the teacher on the playground, yelling out “Stop it-leave me alone!” or finding another child to play with. Have him choose another strategy, and practice this with him while he’s at home. I’m including a link to another article on bullying that I think you might find helpful: Is Your Child Being Bullied? 9 Steps You Can Take as a Parent. Good luck to you and your son as you continue to address this.

Comment By : Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor

My son is in grade 10. He often comes home with bruises or sometimes a cut. I know he is being bullied but he won't talk to me about it. When he was little, I never had time to talk to him about anything, now he doesn't speak to anyone about anything. No friends, relatives or even teachers can get it out of him. He just keeps quiet. I found some notes in his schoolbag about how someone wants his money and that they are going to attack him unless he gives them his lunch money 'as usual'. He walks away whenever I bring any of it up. The teachers and principal can't do anything since no-one knows who is doing this. I am afraid that I may have caused my son a bad life, he hasn't even had 3 girlfriends since I brought him up shy, and he never had proper friends. I don't know what to do

Comment By : a trying their best to be a mom

* To ‘trying their best to be a mom’: I can imagine it’s very painful for you to see your son being hurt the way he is in a place where he should be safe. Parents often feel very powerless when their children won’t confide in them about something difficult they are dealing with. If your son doesn’t want to talk to you about it, it would be helpful to think about other adults in his life whom he might be willing to open up to—an older cousin? A counselor? I know you’ve already tried this, but keep thinking about someone who might be a good fit for the task. And, continue to communicate with the school and report any incidents you find out about to them. It’s tough, because kids are often smart enough to do these things in a way that they won’t get caught, but the school needs to continue to be aware. If you stop reporting it, they might assume things have improved. Finally, you might try calling the non-emergency number for your local police department to see if there is a way they can help, especially when he comes home with bruises, cuts, and threatening notes. At the very least, getting some local support for yourself can be helpful to you, even if your son continues to stay quiet about what’s going on. Here is a website for more information: www.StopBullying.gov. We know this is very difficult for you and we wish you luck as you continue to work through this.

Comment By : Sara Bean, M.Ed., Parental Support Advisor

What do you do when you have filed a formal complaint with the school system and have talked with the police on several occasions? Nothing is being done and my daughter is now in therapy attempting to overcome what's been done to her. I am at my wit's end and don't know what to do next besides call an attorney and see about filing a suit against the school and the kids and their parents.

Comment By : Mindy

* To Mindy: It sounds like you have done a great job of advocating for your daughter and trying to keep her safe from bullies at her school. It can be very frustrating to feel like others who are supposed to help you are not following through. We recommend following up with the school system and find out when you can expect a response to your complaint. If there is no response, then we advise moving forward to the board of education, or whoever oversees the school systems for your area. A helpful resource for you might be StopBullying.gov. This site offers helpful tips for parents and kids on addressing bullying as well as outlining different policies and laws related to bullying. Good luck to you and your daughter as you continue to work through this.

Comment By : Rebecca Wolfenden, Parental Support Advisor

My child has been ridiculed and called gay, fag, queer by other classmates. When this was discussed with a counselor at the school one paticular kid was talked to about it. What happened next was trully discouncerning. The counselor calls my son into her office asked if he like anyone, then she proceeds to say oh so you like boys. My son tells her no and asks why she would ask him that. She tells him that her gay radar goes off when she is around him. Maybe he should think about going to a bigger school because their are more people like him there. What can I do to file a complaint against this counselor? He already hates school and doesn't want to go and this has just made it worse.

Comment By : momfeelinghelpless

* To “momfeelinghelpless”: What a difficult situation to be in as a parent when the one of the people who you believe are there to watch over your son is actually causing him distress. Have you contacted the school administration? If not, that may be a good first step. If you have, and don’t feel your concerns are being taken seriously, you can continue to bring your concerns to people higher up the school administration chain of command. You might also consider contacting your state Department of Education to find out if there is anything they could do or suggest. One other thing that might be helpful is to open a problem solving dialogue with your son. Talk with him about what he could do when someone says these things to him. Unfortunately, he is going to come across people in his life who are unkind. If he can learn skills to deal with these situations effectively, they may not have as much of an impact later. Here is a great article on how to help him develop problem solving skills: The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: "I Can't Solve Problems" Good luck as you work through this difficult issue. Take care.

Comment By : D. Rowden, Parental Support Advisor

My 17 year old daughter stopped going to school after being bullied on the first day of school. I believe it is has been about her weight. We have tried counseling at school and at the mental health clinic. She refuses to specify who is tormenting her, but I suspect that there is more than 1 student involved. She has went from outgoing and happy to miserable and now confines herself to her room. I have been targeted by the system as being negligent as a parent. My daughter has begged me to withdraw her from school and be allowed to continue her education through on-line courses. Her self esteem is at an all time low. As a parent I can say that I have used all resources that I have to try and get her to go to school. All efforts have failed. I've made the decision to explore the on-line classes as an option in an effort to shield her from further torture. I am being criticized by some and praised by others. As a father I feel that my first priority should be to protect her from further bullying, yet I'm concerned that she will stay completely withdrawn socially. Any advice would be helpful.

Comment By : Dad

* To “Dad”: Thank you for sharing your story with us. It can be heartbreaking as a parent to watch as your child suffers due to bullying. I am so sorry to hear your daughter is having such a difficult time in school. We would agree with your first priority, as to your daughter’s safety and well-being. Ultimately only you can determine if on-line study is a viable option for your daughter. It might be beneficial to talk with the school about this as well to find out how they would be able to work with you to ensure your daughter is meeting the necessary requirements for graduation. If this is the option you choose, you might consider involving your daughter in some extra-curricular activities to address your concerns around social withdrawal. You could look into things such as Community Theater or possibly a book club. Non-academic adult ed classes, like cooking or art may also be a way to give her social opportunities. You might consider continuing with counseling to help your daughter develop coping skills for dealing with similar situations in the future. Unfortunately, it’s conceivable she could come across other people who may treat her badly in her life. By working with her to develop some skills to deal with this challenge effectively, you will be giving her tools she can use throughout her life. There is another resource available that you may find helpful. Stop Bullying is a great online resource for parents and youth who are dealing with bullying. You may find other ideas and suggestions that could be useful for your particular situation. We wish you and your daughter luck as you continue to work through this issue. Please keep in touch.

Comment By : D. Rowden, Parental Support Advisor

My son is 13yrs nearly 14yrs this month, am dealing with a terriable situation at this time where he is being bullied daily and has been actually PUNCHED in the face, which him and the boy got kicked out of school for a day over it all. I personally don't feel my son should have been expelled over it at all but that seems to be the solution here in this area. My son is depressed, acting out, and now just down right not doing any of his school work. Let me add in here that my son's IQ is 152...I am faced with his intelligence being seriously hindered here, and not sure which way to turn. My son has such gifts, wants, and goals in life. I am amazed how this will take a huge presidence over his life, in his accomplishments in school. I was teased in school for being over weight, lost a bunch of weight then got teased for being to skinny, called gay etc...4 eyes it was a never ending story, could not please any of those people. I learned later in life however to not take what people said to heart and just like myself but honestly it did effect myself in many ways mentally, physically and how my goals went in life. I place no blame on them now, but lets face it, it does effect ones mind, body and soul. Now I am faced with this horriable thing happening to my son who has alot more potential than I ever did, he took this after his Grandmother who was a avid reader, IQ 172 and honestly didn't do a thing with it, but have us children struggle as a single parent. I want to break this chain, humility, and allow my son to grow. I wanted to say Thanks to your article, we will be making some definate changes in how we handle this situation. Anyone going through this ordeal should use these methods, but if it doesn't work for us then honestly home schooling is an option again for my sweet child, who is loving and smart.

Comment By : Treva

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