Empowering Parents caught up with Peggy Moss, a nationally known expert on bullying and a tireless advocate for the prevention of hate violence, to discuss bullying and what parents can do when they suspect their child is being bullied. And what they can do—together—to try to stop it.

Q. 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.

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?

Related content: What to Do If Your Child Is Bullying Other Kids

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Q. 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. If your kid races home and goes to the bathroom every day after school it could mean that there’s a bullying problem.

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.

Q. 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. 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 your child:

“What happened? How did that make you feel?”

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. Therefore, don’t say, “What did you do that made them tease you?” That’s not going to help.

Also, try to find out more about the kid who’s doing the teasing. But don’t say, “Oh my God, what a rotten kid,” because you’re just getting a part of the story.

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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.

Related content: Is Your Child Being Bullied? 9 Steps You Can Take as a Parent

Q. 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.

Q. 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 my child needs to talk to someone.”

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.

Q. 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.

So, 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.”

The impact on your child is what teachers need to know because it may not be obvious to them. You’re basically asking them to keep an eye on your child and to keep an eye out for trouble. Later, you can follow-up with email and ask the teacher for an update.

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. Johnson 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.

Q. 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.

Q. 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.

Peggy 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.

About

Peggy Moss is a leading advocate for bullying prevention in North America. She is a former civil rights prosecutor, a sought-after speaker on the subject of Bullying Prevention, and the author of three award-winning books for Children: Say Something, Our Friendship Rules and One of Us. Ms. Moss serves on the board of directors of PREVNet, Canada’s authority on research and resources for bullying prevention. She is a graduate of Princeton University and Washington College of Law at American University. She has been interviewed for her expertise by the The Boston Globe, The Globe and Mail and Discovery Channel, among others.

Comments (59)
  • Laura Izen

    I was bullied relentlessly in school. I have to say the school bus was the most difficult and I don't see this one being addressed. I also would say to parents there are alternatives to public school. There is online school.

    I quit telling my parents about my troubles at school, nothing helped, I just held my head up and faced it daily. It never stopped. I quit every school activity and even graduated early so I could get out. I have no regrets about this and went on to college where my life was much better.

  • Carole Leclerc

    Hello,

    I also experienced intimidation when I was in high school (exclusively for girls, so they were very mean to each others). Today I am 40 years old so it was a long time ago and at the time the medias didn't talk about bullying (cell phones didn't existed, etc). But nowadays,the subject came up again everywhere and it reminds me of what I experienced myself at school (insults without reasons, mockeries, crying hidden in the bathroom, suicidal ideas, etc.)

    In short, I am not here to tell my story but because I would like to advise you a book I have read and which gives good advice to young people to how survive from bullying (this is the title of the book and that's what attracted me).

    My children are still young (5 and 8 years) but I intend to do everything to prevent them from living what I experienced so I am documenting myself a lot on the subject.

    I share their website with you, there is a list of the chapters inside the book, I found it really good!

    http://survive-from-bullying.webnode.fr/

    Good luck for those who still endure this, or for your children if you are parents here. :)

  • mr-mrsjohnson
    The bullying has got so bad for my son he's not sleeping, he's crying every morning and begging us not to send him there! He's been internally excluded because he's being bullied he's not allowed out at playtime or lunch and spends most of his time with the teacher'sMore indoors! It's just heartbreaking as not only is my son terrified of going to school, it's effecting his learning and has done for the past year! Please help me as if I do keep him home I'm constantly threatened with fine's and even jail and it's an awful thing not feeling like you are protecting your child and sending him into the Lions den every weekday. Kindest Regards Vanessa
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m so sorry to hear about the bullying your son is experiencing at school. It can be quite difficult for most parents to witness their child being treated this way, and I’m glad that you are here reaching out for support. As outlined in the article above, IMore encourage you to work with your son at home on what he can do to feel more empowered when he’s at school. I also recommend continuing to work with the school to address the bullying your son is facing there. You might find some additional resources for both you and your son on the Bullying UK website. I recognize what a difficult situation this must be for you and your family, and I wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • Nikki
    Check your local state laws. If by state laws there is a one party consent law to recording a conversation have your child take a small recorder with them to school. This is how I busted my bullies and the school admins who kept denying that anything was happening atMore their precious school! I am sure the geeks (yes I am one of them) at the local spy store will also help your child get video proof as well! Many of those who were bullied at school became quite adept at computers and video equipment! Heck, if all else fails give your child a phone and have it positioned in a bag or something that will capture video and voice recordings. If the school has been denying that bullying takes any action record them as well and then after they have denied it the 3rd 100th time inform them (after checking with a lawyer) that you have the whole thing on tape and you will be more than happy to send it to the local news station unless they call the police, inform the BOE and take PROPER ACTION! DO not allow them to get away with blaming the victim or pretending it is not happening. Time to take the fight back to where it belongs!
  • Penny
    My Grandson is being bullied they call him dumb fat stupid he is being hit in the face punched in the stomach he has bruises all over his legs I've been to the school I've talked to his teacher and the principle they say they will watch out for himMore but it is still happening,he has started to hit back and has gotten disaplined for it ,he does want to go to school anymore,i don't know what to do next
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m so sorry to hear about the bullying your grandson is going through right now. He deserves to be safe from harm at school. I’m glad to hear that you have been talking with the teachers and the principal about the ongoing bullying and abusive behavior he hasMore been experiencing. If you are not already doing so, I also encourage you to document each incident in writing, and give a copy to the school. This provides documentation that the bullying is still happening, and creates a paper trail of your efforts to end it. You might find additional tips on the Stop Bullying website as well. I recognize what a difficult situation this must be for you, and I wish you and your family all the best. Take care.
  • Sue
    My granddaughter is being threatened lunch being taken pushed hair pulling. She just started to talk about it. Their is two main bully's and two followers. My granddaughter said her other 3 friends are also being bullied. This is a new school grade 6. And never experiencedMore this before. She was afraid to tell anyone saying to her mother. You don't know what they will do to me if they find out I talked. My daughter spoke to her teacher also principal they knew exactly who my daughter was talking about. Most of this behavior taking place during lunchtime with no school supervision what can we do to protect her. She. Was pushed down. Some stairs on Thursday and her shoe throw Ed in her face
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m sorry to hear about what your granddaughter is currently going through at school, and I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support. I encourage you to continue to work with the school to ensure your granddaughter’s safety there. In addition to talking with her teachers andMore the principal, you might also consider writing down each incident of bullying which your granddaughter shares with you, and providing a copy to the school to create a paper trail. I recommend doing this every time, as sometimes school officials might assume that the situation has been resolved if they do not hear more about it. As outlined in the article above, you could also work with your granddaughter to create a plan to keep her safe during lunchtime, or other times when the bullies are more likely to target her. You might find additional tips in Is Your Child Being Bullied? 9 Steps You Can Take as a Parent. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for your family. Take care.
  • Melissa
    My youngest son is being bullied at school by a girl in his classroom at school.
  • Precious

    Hi

    My child was bullied from school, he came home with blue eyes the principal suggested we open the case against those kids of which we did. now my son is scared to go to school. what is the next step from here? my husband suggested we look for another school for him do you think that is a good idea?

    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      When your child is being bullied, it can be difficult to figure out the best next step to take. As outlined in the article above, it is important to step in and intervene if your child’s safety is at risk. It’s also important to talk with your sonMore about what he can do to help himself feel more empowered in this situation. In the end, the choice of whether to switch schools, or have him remain in his current school, is going to be yours, and what is in the best interest of your son. I recognize what a difficult situation this must be and I wish you and your family all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • Katy
    Hi my 7 year old has been experiencing bullying in his class. We had it last year with a few boys who kept pushing him over and after speaking to the teacher they had talksome with them and things improved. ButMore now they all seem to be igoring him and it's heartbreaking. He said a lot of the boys are really rough so he doesn't play with them. I don't know what to do. I was bulilies a lot in school and don't want the same thing happening to him.?
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear you. It can be so challenging when your child is being bullied, especially when you had a similar experience when you were in school. As outlined in the article above, it can be very effective to talk with your son about some strategies he can useMore to help himself feel more in control and empowered if he doesn’t want to play with the boys who play too rough. It’s also going to be useful to separate your experiences in school from what your son is currently going through, as this will help you to be more effective in assisting him in developing strategies he can use. You can read more about this in Child and Teen Bullying: How to Help When Your Kid is Bullied. I recognize how painful this must be for you, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Debra

    There is so much bullying in schools today....I am starting a school of my own to help children who feel they cannot go to school because the bullying is too bad. It's based on homeschool academics but with a therapeutic atmosphere and counseling built in. It will help the children feel empowered again and allow them to reach their own potential at their own rate.

    I have worked in education for 30 years and helped many children from abusive homes rebuild their lives.

  • Scarlett
    My 6 years old has been experiencing bullied from. 7 and 8 years old kids at her class. They want to attack her because she is slim and smaller and use glasses. I saw a boy hitting her on the stomach and on her face . I talk with theMore principal they moved him to another class. Now another boy almost 8 year old try to punch her on her face today my What can I do.? All those boys and few girls want to attack her constantly. Calling her stupid or hitting her or treating her about hitting her. She always sad saying she doesn't have friends with low self steam. What can I do?what else can I tell the principal?
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      Watching your child get bullied by her classmates can be so heartbreaking, and I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support. As outlined in the article above, I encourage you to talk with your daughter about steps she can take to help herself to feel more in controlMore when this is happening. I also encourage you to continue to talk with the principal about the bullying your daughter is experiencing. It can be useful to write down and document each incident, and to submit a copy to the principal as well. Sometimes, if the school does not hear anything more, they might assume that the situation has been resolved. You might find additional information and tips for both your and your daughter on StopBullying.gov I recognize what challenging situation this must be for you and your family, and I wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • Kay

    My son was threatened when he was overseas in college and till this day is effected by it.

    He didn't tell us about until he had a near breakdown.

    He still struggles with feeling helpless.

    How can I empower him at this age ?

    My heart breaks for him.

    He used to be a confident young man and know always doubts his feelings and actions .

    Any books you suggest read for him as adult?

    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m so sorry to hear about your son’s experience while he was overseas, and I hear how much you want to help him to overcome this and regain his confidence. As noted in the article above, these types of experiences can have lasting effects which remain long after theMore incident is over. While I do not have any recommended books which address this scenario, it could be useful to look into local supports, such as a counselor or support group, to help you assist your son. Even if your son is not willing to engage, it could be useful for you to get some information on ways that you can respond and interact with him. For more information about services available in your area, try contacting the 211 Helpline at 1-800-273-6222. I recognize what a difficult situation this must be for you, and I wish you all the best moving forward. Take care.
  • HayKayD

    After reading all these comments, i wonder if one reason so many teachers blame the victim is that there is a stereotype that bullies are usually bullies who are bullied themselves. it's so common that even this blog has said it in another post, but in reality, bullies are usually popular. they also usually target loners, and only very rarely go after groups of three or more.

    it could be that the reason so many teachers blame victims instead of the actual bully is because they believe the stereotype, so when they see a fight, they're instinct tells them to blame the loner, who who they imagine as some kind of Nelson Muntz, but who is actually probably the victim.

    i guess then the hard part is to educate the teachers more on the realities of bullying without them feeling like their (often very) delicate pride is being attacked.

  • DexterPoindexter
    I am sick of my daughter being bullied, yesterday, she was beat up by her bully and the girl who did it is still harassing her. My daughter was suspended for being beat up.
  • jjnbbills
    This is the 2nd year in a row that the child of the school superintendent is bullying my daughter. She seems to get protection from teachers and it was addressed before but nothing is done.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    Marie Perez 

    It’s understandable

    that you would be concerned upon hearing this information.  The most

    important thing you can do when a child shares that she is being bullied is to

    remain calm, and get the facts about what is going on.  As Dr. Joan Simeo

    Munson points out in her article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/cyberbullying-what-every-parent-should-know/, this is also important information for

    teachers, the principal, guidance counselors and other school officials to have

    so they can monitor what is going on within the school grounds.  Another

    resource you might find helpful is the http://www.stopbullying.gov/ website, which gives information on responding effectively to

    bullying, both online and off.  Please let us know if you have any

    additional questions.  Take care.

  • Darlene EP

    Mommy of 1 

    I know this is not easy for you

    or your daughter to be dealing with. Your daughter should not have to put up

    with how this girl is treating her. I would continue to work with your

    daughter’s teacher and the school principal on solutions they can be a part of

    because they are at school with them. At home I would focus on coaching your

    daughter on ways that she can respond. Janet Lehman talks more about this in

    her article

    https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/is-your-child-being-bullied-9-steps-you-can-take-as-a-parent/. Thank you for

    writing in with your question. We wish you and your family the best as you

    continue to work on this. Take care.

  • Anthony
    My Daughter is only being bullied on the bus that brings her home from school. I don't know who to approach with this type a situation. If I had my own vehicle then it would not be a issue but I myself have no license to drive due to beingMore epileptic so it's rough on me so I have to rely on what I can to get her to and from school. I keep telling her to ignore them Like I did when I was young but she is way more sensitive than I was so it effects her more. I am just afraid with her temper she is going to lash out and hurt someone.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Anthony 

      I’m sorry to hear about what your daughter is experiencing

      on the bus, and she deserves to be safe from bullying both at school and on her

      transportation there and home.  I encourage you to use the tips in the

      article above to talk with your daughter about what she can do to help herself

      when she is on the bus and experiencing bullying.  You might consider

      talking with your daughter’s bus driver about the bullying as well, and

      documenting each incident.  Another resource you might consider checking

      out is the http://www.stopbullying.gov/ website,

      which has more resources for addressing bullying.  Please be sure to write

      back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take

      care.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    lunabird03 

    Hi Melissa! Thank you for reaching out.  I’m so sorry to

    hear about the bullying you have experienced, and it shows a lot of compassion

    that you would be willing to help others who are going through a similar

    situation. Because we are a website aimed at helping people become more

    effective parents, we are not able to publish your comment reaching out to

    other teens.  Another resource which might be more useful to you is http://www.stopbullying.gov/, which has information

    and resources for parents, educators and teens to address bullying directly in

    your community. If you would like to talk to someone about your own experience

    being bullied, I encourage you to contact the Boys Town National Hotline, which

    you can reach by calling 1-800-448-3000, 24/7. They have trained counselors who

    talk with kids, teens and young adults everyday about issues they are facing,

    and they can help you to look at your options and come up with a plan. 

    They also have options to communicate via text, email, and live chat which you

    can find on their website, http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/ 

    I wish you the best going forward. Take care.

  • Wellesley
    I use to be calm while confronting my son, I know that he's been bullied by his classmate. I don't use shouting or over reacting way to make my son, to be honest with me.
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    DanaMannellaAgosta 

    I can understand your concern about your son’s safety, and

    I’m glad that you are reaching out for support.  Because laws around

    bullying vary among communities, I am not sure about your rights or legal

    options you might have available to you.  One resource which could be

    helpful to you is the http://www.stopbullying.gov/

    website, which has a section listing the state laws and policies around

    bullying.  Another option might be to talk with a lawyer about your

    rights, and ensuring your son’s safety in school.  If you need help

    locating legal counsel, you might try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222.  211 is a service

    which connects people with resources in their community.  I hope that

    things get better for your family soon, and I wish you and your son all the

    best moving forward.  Take care.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    @Kwallis 

    Thank you for

    writing in.  It is so hard when you feel as though you have done

    everything you are supposed to do as a parent to keep your child safe, yet the

    bullying continues to worsen.  I encourage you to continue to report the

    incidents in the neighborhood to the police.  Something you might find

    useful is to call law enforcement during a calm time to talk about how they can

    help your daughter to stay safe, even if it is only taking a written report to

    document what is happening.  You might find our https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-talk-to-police-when-your-child-is-physically-abusive/ to be useful in planning this conversation.  In

    addition, I encourage you and your daughter to check out the http://www.stopbullying.gov/ website, which offers

    additional resources for both parents and kids to help address ongoing

    bullying, as well as providing a comprehensive listing of anti-bullying laws

    and policies in each state.  I recognize what a difficult situation this

    is for you and your family, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take

    care.

  • Sad mom
    I made a post yesterday and now today it's gone. It wasn't a bad post, but I did say what is happening to my son and how the school is protecting the bullies and blaming my son for being bullied. Today the post is gone. Why?
    • Raeshma
      I read your post and I am deeply sorry to hear all this. As a fellow mom, I understand how troubling this is. I will be praying for your family, especially your son.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Sad mom 

      Thanks for your question.  All of our comments are

      moderated before publishing, so there can be a delay between when a comment is

      written and when it appears on our site.  I’m sorry to hear about all that

      you and your son have experienced with his classmates and the school officials. 

      Your son deserves to be safe at school.  If you have not already done so,

      I encourage you to document every incident of bullying that your son shares

      with you, and submitting a copy of this to the school.  If you are not

      satisfied with the response that you are getting from the school, you can go up

      the chain of authority at the school, such as speaking with the principal, the

      superintendent, or the school board.  In addition, many communities have

      anti-bullying ordinances or laws in place.  You might consider checking http://www.stopbullying.gov/ to see what might be

      available in your area, as well as additional resources for you and your

      son.  I recognize what a difficult situation this must be for you and your

      son, and I wish you all the best moving forward.

      • Sad mom

        Thanks for your reply. Here is what we have already did or been doing.

        We do document everything. My son was documenting at school, but as you can imagine it became a reason to bully him more. The therapist had told my son to record everything immediately when it happened because it was fresher in his mind then. Unfortunately several teachers and the bullies took exception to him writing things down. We have been in contact with the principal over and over. He meets with Alex and says they are working on it. One thing they did was start a boys group forcing the bullies and my son to sit together supposedly looking for ways to resolve the issues. What it has become was school and guidance counselor sanctioned bullying. The counselor was the one to tell me to purchase a different swimming suit for my son. My thoughts for a better approach was grab a sports magazine and look for swimmers in it. Note what they wear. Yeah, that wasn't how she wanted to approach it. I've asked for meetings with the teachers and pricipal. Only time they will meet me is at parent teacher conversations that are scheduled exactly 10 minutes. During that time they tell me that my son doesn't participate in class which is half his grade and that he is socially awkward. Nothing gets accomplished and my son and I leave more dejected than before. No meetings will be scheduled outside of those twice yearly conferences per the teachers.

        I've called the superintendent, but can only leave a message on a voice mail. The only call back I ever receive is from the principal. My son has went from a outgoing and confident 2nd grader to a miserable and painfully shy 6th grader since joining this school district. Unfortunately the parents of the bullies are on the school board. Barring getting a lawyer and suing the school district I don't see how we can continue sending our son here. Unfortunately it will lead to even more isolation as he wont have any friends within his community and activities will be severely limited based on travel and logistics. Other choices are some type of boarding school, but again isolated from family support system while in an already fragile state isn't wise. As a last resort we have even discussed splitting up our family and me moving into another district during school. My son would only see his father on weekends then. Pretty pathetic what we would be forced to do all in an effort to keep our son safe from bullies.

        When the therapist questioned why the counselor felt my son was drawing attention to himself she noted the obsessive hand washing my son does when his anxiety is high. She said it was because he was twitchy and couldn't sit still that the kids picked on him. Um he doesn't sit still when being kicked. He's actually been shoved and tripped out of the lunch line and because he was out of line was forced to go to the back of the line. We packed lunches to prevent it. They took his lunch and threw it in the toilet or garbage. He went a whole week before telling me he wasn't getting to eat his lunch. I started delivering his lunch and staying there to make sure he got a chance to eat. The counselor said that I was drawing attention to my son and causing the bullies to bully him. The list goes on. The bullies can do whatever they want and my son is always to blame. Until communities are forced to take responsibility and parents are forced to model appropriate behavior bullies will always be fostered. A parent can be sent to jail in my state if their child is habitually truant, but not if their child is beating on other kids. Parents are the problem the end result is kids that bully.

        • Lubna_30
          OMG! I have the same situation with my 11 year old son. He is the only kid and is steroid dependant which is making him big for his age. The kids bully him for being fat and he stopped eating at all in achool coz he feel nauseated. He startedMore to have panic attacks and hurting himself. He is in therapy for the past 2 years but still didn't have enough courage to speak up for himself. The principal has stopped me from coming to school at lunch times saying he won't learn to be independent. I've changed the school only for the worse and now back to the old one. He is on anti depressants now. He developed ADHD. Losing his grades. Developed strange habbits like chewing the erasers and biting fingers aling with finger nails. The list goes on and on. The teachers seems to be understanding but told me that my son has to say something but he is reallt scared of that one bully..which happened to be a girl younger than him. I even tried to talk to her mom personally but instead of asking her daoughter she denied on my face that she couldn't do such things and instead my son is the one who bullies her. My son started to believe that he is fat and ugly and doesn't fit anywhere in the world. These r the exact words of that girl. Its been 3 days and my son couldn't eat anything and has bouts of crying. I'm scared for his life now.
  • Sad mom

    My son is bullied by kids at school, and the school blames my son.

    One example. My son is a fast reader and so finishes before the other students. He's forced to be in a reading group with some kids that bully him and try to get him into trouble. So during this reading group he generally sits bored out of his mind while the others discuss the book. If he says anything they complain to the teacher that he's giving away the plot and ruining the book for them. If he writes down anything on his paper he's giving away the plot. Never mind that these kids don't need to read what he wrote. One day while in the reading group and bored out of his mind he was pushing a finger up against the bottom of his eye. He was entertained by the fact it made him see double. One kid that dislikes my son started screaming that my son was threatening to shoot himself with a gun. My son got sent to the office and I got called. The following week the kids taunted him saying things like he should shoot himself. When I asked the school their response was that any discussion of guns was cause for disciplinary action. My son didn't bring up the talk. The bullies did, but my son got detention. The bullies know that by screaming my son is trouble they can get him into trouble.

    Last week he was playing a game during break. Another kid came along and kicked my son hard. My son finally broke and kicked the kid back. The other kid starting kicking and hitting my son. My son punched him in the head and then left. I'm mad at my son for getting physical, but my son is the one getting the warning. Next altercation he gets a suspension. The other kid got nothing as he stated that my son had previously threatened him that morning. Funny thing though my son wasn't in school that morning as he was seeing the counselor I pay for because he has anxiety, ocd and depression from being bullied. The video shows the other kid walking up to my son, saying something, my son ignoring him and turning his back to the kid before getting attacked.

    A month ago my son got tired of a class mate constantly kicking him every time he walked past. He constantly has had bruises on his legs all year. This kid looked for reasons to get up during class just to walk past my son. The other kids encouraged it and would laugh about it. My son eventually got tired of it and kicked him back. This kid got angry and all red in the face started kicking and beating on my son right in front of the teacher. Who did nothing to stop it. My son, and this is all on video, sat and tried to listen to the teacher while ignoring this bully. The bully grabbed my sons chair and flipped him on his head. The class cheered. Both kids got sent to the principle, but my son was forced to apologize to his teacher and the bully. The other kid never apologized to my son. I don't know about to the teacher. The crappy teacher should have apologized to my son. My son is 12 and in 6th grade.

    About the same time my son had swimming in gym class. My son wears swimming jammers and not grannie panties because he's on a swim team. These kids had a fit about his swimming suit. Apparently they have never watched the olympics. It was such a big stink by these kids I was told to purchase a different suit for my son. The answer was no. I'm not spending money on a suit he would wear for 2 weeks total. It should have been a moment for them to teach these kids something about the swimming sport. My sons team is in a town about 20 miles away because they don't have one here. After I went in and explained to them that this is what swimmers wear to help them go fast it became that the only reason my son out swam everyone was because he cheated with his swimming trunks.

    Now it's baseball season and even though my son is a really good player he couldn't get on a team in his age group. They don't do tryouts here. Coaches chose who their team will be. Since their kids all hate my son he has to play with a group of kids a year younger than him. The kids at school tell my son the reason he has to play with the 5th graders is because he sucks. My son actually gets private coaching all year for baseball. He's pretty good or I wouldn't pay for it. One coach volunteered to coach my son based on watching him at a clinic. He thinks my son has excellent potential, but needs to get mentally tough. It's a hard sport to play when you have anxiety.

    I'm afraid my son is going to be broken and unable to grow into a healthy adult. I was bullied as a kid and it's something that you always remember. I don't want to home school my son, but I don't see the school doing anything to prevent or stop it. The school counselor told my sons therapist that the kids bully my son because of the way he acts. Really we blame the victims now? At what point do we blame the crappy parents of the bullies?

    A week ago my son and his girlfriend received sexually explicit notes while in their last class of the day. She got mad and tore them up. I reported it to the principal, but without the actual evidence, even though there were other witnesses to it, the principal did nothing.

    Personally I can understand why some kids go off their rocker and take weapons to school. My son has no access to weapons, and as he is pretty nonviolent normally it's down the list of things I fear from him, but I can certainly see how kids get broken enough to do something like that.

    I council my son to constantly ignore these kids. Don't ever respond. He will at times, but I will continue to remind him not to. The problem is that these kids will badger any friends he has to the point that they won't associate with him anymore. Today my son sat alone because nobody would allow him at their table. They are increasing his isolation and the school doesn't discourage them from doing it. Every time I question them I hear that they didn't see anything. Since they know there is an issue maybe they should open their eyes.

    The problem with ignoring is that bullies get pissed when they don't get a reaction and become violent. And when that happens, even with clear video evidence, the kid that is getting bullied my then have the school protecting the bullies.

  • Hi
    K
  • Veggiemomma1

    My Daughter 7 years old has been not wanting to go to school all week , making excuses like she is sick, her foot hurts ect. Thursday morning she told me that no one will play with her , I asked what do you mean , tell me what happens when you ask to play with someone . She said they run away from her because a girl E ( a grade older than her, and I take care of her after school) told them not to be my friend . I said " oh .. Well why do you think she would do that? " She said " I don't know , she tells people she hates me " . This girl E is never mean to my daughter In front of me , so this came as a shock.

    Thursday I dropped my daughter off at cheer and took E and her sister back to my house. I didn't say anything to E because I wanted to talk to her mom first . Then both of us talk to the girls to figure out what is going on.

    Her mom picked up her girls and I went and got my daughter from cheer.

    We got home from Cheer and my daughter found a note from E in her room addressed to her . It said Avi is dead , Avi you are mean , I hate you . A pic tux of my daughter that was drawn , big x over it and scribbled out.

    I talked to Avi she was so upset and hurt , asking me why E wants her dead .

    So I asked her " why do you think she would do this ?" She said " yesterday I was colouring with E and I drew on the back of her picture and I didn't know it had something on the other side . She got really mad at me .. I said I was sorry . She has been ruining my life all week mom"

    I tried to talk to E 's mom , I showed her the pictures. But feels that her daughter is always getting blamed for things at school and now at daycare . I feel lost , should I take this to the school ? Police? I just feel there is a deeper issue with E.

    • Darlene EP

      Veggiemomma1 

      I can understand your concern.

       The fact that your daughter has been trying to avoid school says there is

      an issue that needs to be addressed. Like the article above mentions, it is a

      good idea to help your daughter come up with ways she can solve this problem by

      asking her questions about what she can do when she finds herself in a

      difficult situation with this girl. Asking questions like, “What do you think

      you can do if this happens again?” or “What do you think might work?” will help

      your daughter with the tools she needs to solve this situation on her own

      terms. I think it could also be helpful to let the teacher know what has been

      going on so that s/he can keep an eye on the situation. This girl never did

      these things in front of you so chances are their teacher is not aware of the

      situation either. I hope this situation gets better for you and your daughter

      soon. Thank you for writing in. Take care.

  • Yara
    My son is being bullied by a student at hisschool. We live in the same neighborhood, in The Boy comes around the park where we met someplace and wants to fight and and start threatening my son that he's going to hit him he threatened him in school and hasMore broken his toys should we speak to his parents?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @Yara

      Speaking to the boys parents is one option. It could also be

      helpful to make the school aware of what is going on as well. Going forward,

      you may want to consider keeping written documentation of any bullying

      incidents that occur. Try to include as much information as possible, such as

      where it happened, when it happened, who was present, and what bullying

      behavior took place. You can keep a copy for your records and send a copy to

      school administrators. The website http://www.stopbullying.gov/

      can give you more tips for addressing this upsetting situation. Best of luck to

      you and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • momof2me2004
    My daughter is 16 she has been having problems for 8 months with a girl at school and at home. The problem is not getting any better and the situation seems to be getting worse daily. I have gone to the school and given them 24 pages of threats. TheMore school doesn't seem to do anything about this problem. I have gone to the local police department with no response. At this point my daughter refuses to go back to school. I have so much evidence and the school is not following their student policy on bullying. I am not sure where else to go. I contacted the board of education also. Any advice on what to do? This girl has made death threats against my family, drove by my house multiple times. My daughter isn't safe at home or school.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      momof2me2004

      Knowing that your child is being bullied in a place where

      she should be safe can be very distressing. Making school personnel aware of

      the situation and documenting the instances are both good steps to take. I’m

      glad to hear you have also reached out to the education board for assistance as

      well. You might also consider talking with legal counsel about the school’s

      apparent lack of follow through on maintaining a safe educational environment

      for your daughter. Many communities have specific laws that address bullying,

      at school and in the community. You can find out what laws, if any, are in your

      area by checking out the http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/index.html on http://www.stopbullying.gov/. You can

      also find other http://www.stopbullying.gov/get-help-now/index.html, for both you and your daughter, on the site as

      well. In the meantime, you can check out this article that outlines other ways you

      can help your daughter through this trying time: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/child-and-teen-bullying-how-to-help-when-your-kid-is-bullied/. Best of luck to you

      and your daughter moving forward. Take care.

  • A
    My son is 6 he's just told me that a group of kids he told me ther names hits him all the time wen no1 is looking and making other boys and girls stop talking to me he's told me thers loads of peaple do t need friends am soMore angry at school for letting this happen what do I do
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @A

      It may be helpful to contact the school to let the principal

      or other school administrator know what happened. Unfortunately, there may be

      times when this sort of behavior goes under the radar and may be missed by the

      adults in charge. It’s also going to be helpful to help your son develop

      effective coping skills he can use when these situations occur. The above

      article gives tips for doing that. Another article you may find helpful is

       https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/child-and-teen-bullying-how-to-help-when-your-kid-is-bullied/. The website http://www.stopbullying.gov/ also has some great

      tips for both you and your son. Best of luck to you and your son moving

      forward. Take care.

  • Mommy of 2 little Girls

    My daughter is 5 years old and for about a month she has been coming home saying she doesn't want to go to school anymore. I brushed it off because I thought she just didn't like getting up early or just wanted to stay home. Then I asked her one day why she didn't want to go and she told me she didn't want to go because of these two boys who push her and don't want to be her friend.. and around this time she was getting sent home little comments from the teacher saying that she was doing this and that in the lunch room and one comment really got me very upset.. the teacher said that she was sent to the principals office for sticking up her middle finger... and when I went to pick up my daughter the teacher stoped me and told me all of this and I kindly asked my daughter to "show me your middle finger" and of course I knew what she was going to do and I asked her again in front of the teacher and she stuck up her pointer finger and the teacher looked shocked and I told the teacher "are you sure she did this who saw her do this? Because my daughter doesn't even no what the middle finger is or what it means."and she replied with " well a student saw her and told on her" and I said "so an adult figure didn't she this at all and was just going off one student said" and to my surprise she told me the name of the boy who said this and it was one of the boys she mentioned to me who was pushing her... ugh I don't know what do to my husband already talked to the teacher and today she came home and told me that this little girl threw carrots at her face... and my daughter isn't the type to Tell on anyone because she thinks everyone is her friend.... My baby is such a shy sweet little girl who has such a big heart. When I asked her "what do you want mommy" she answered me with "nothing mommy the're my friends." It hurts my heart that she still thinks of these kids as her friends when they are being soo mean to her. She even came home crying saying that they told her they don't like her and don't want to be her friend. I'm soo at a lost here because she really likes this school and I'm just scared that what if one time they push her hard enough to where she gets really hurt.

    Please help!!!!!!

    I don't want my daughter to feel like she doesn't want to go to school anymore, I just want her to be happy and safe that's all.

    • HauteSwan
      Mommy of 2 little Girls  Self defense is always a healthy option for kids who get bullied.  They learn to say no to their bullies.  I think Judo is the one my husband was recommending for my son.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Mommy of 2 little Girls

      It can be heartbreaking to watch your child face struggles

      in their peer relationships. Truthfully, the behavior you describe isn’t

      uncommon for kids in their first years in school. Young kids are learning how

      to behave in social situations and may exhibit behavior that is inappropriate,

      like hitting or pushing. It’s also important to know that at some point or

      another, almost all kids feel the pain of being excluded or left out of peer

      activities. Here are a couple articles that offer great tips for what you can

      do to help your daughter through these challenges: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-start-the-school-year-off-right-top-4-issues-that-cause-a-rocky-start/

      & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-cool-kids-how-to-help-your-child-or-teen-deal-with-peer-pressure-exclusion-and-cliques/. I hope you find the information helpful. Be sure to check back

      if you have any further questions. Take care.

  • nise
    dont be a buly
  • nise
    i know abril
  • nise
    dont be a bully
  • lisamsmith1988
    My daughter is only 8 years old, and she has been bullied by one of my neighbors kid. But it has become violent, he hit with a stick across her face twice and busted her lip. I called the police, but the said was kids will be kids and suggestedMore some type of sit down with a mediator. Yea like that's going to work. Does anyone have any suggestions for me, I'm afraid to even let my kids outside to play, and it's not fair to them?
  • kim99
    I know exactly what you are saying. My daughter is almost 14 years old and have been bullied 6 months. I just found out today after questioning why she is failing. She cried, expressing what she has to put up with at school every. I knowMore she is building flame inside of her and she soon will retaliate. So, I emailed her teachers and the principal about my concerns. I will see what will take place tomorrow.
    • nise
      kim99 i know right
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    Worried3235 I can only imagine how upset and worried you must be. It can

    be tough to know how to respond when your child is being bullied. The above

    article offers some great tips for parents. Another article you may find

    helpful is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/is-your-child-being-bullied-9-steps-you-can-take-as-a-parent/. As you can see

    from both articles, it’s going to be beneficial to talk with your son about

    what is happening and problem solve with him ways he might be able to respond

    when this kid slaps him or other kids say mean, hurtful things to him. You

    might also want to check out the website http://www.stopbullying.gov/

    for more tips on things you and your son can do to help manage this tough

    situation. We appreciate you writing in. Take care.

  • School allowing bullying
    I have been dealing with my kids school for two years. A bus driver avusing kids on there bus, they force her to early retire. Then the same lids for two years physically and verbally bullying my son. He tells the monitor she says to stop tattleing. I have beenMore to principal, head of bus garage, meetings with teachers and superintendent. They just keep saying we will speak to the monitor. Now my son got pushed into a bench and messed his back up. When do they stop it and bring justice for him. He is afraid to go to school and kids pick on him because his step dad is PuertoRican. Calling him the n word n more. We need help he is 7 and its not right!
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @School allowing bullying

      I hear you. It can be very distressing when it seems like

      the school is either unable or unwilling to deal with a bullying issue. You

      might find it helpful to check out the website http://www.stopbullying.gov/ for more information

      on possible steps you could take. There’s even an http://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/index.html that

      outlines what, if any, anti-bullying laws and policies are in place in your

      area. In the meantime, you might find this article useful for your situation: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/is-your-child-being-bullied-9-steps-you-can-take-as-a-parent/. We wish you and

      your family the best of luck moving forward through this tough situation. Take

      care.

  • dmarco
    I don't understand how come there is no process in place for bullying. .. "Talk to your child " ..this is the most ridiculous thing . My child is 7 !!!! We've already spoken to her and have spoken to the Vice-Principle who chooses to do nothing toMore stop the bullying . The bullies should be reperemeanded for what they do. How is it that there is no law against this in 2016 ?!?!?!?! If someone so much touches you on the street, you can press charges against them !!! How can there not be something in place for kids ????? Wake up people !!!
    • james
      Seriously you guys need to rebuild your kids confidence.1 wxplain the psychology behind why these people r bullies to begin with.maybe your kid might actually feel sorry for the bully coward.2 seriously sport and or martial arts .but dont be frantic or anxious as your kid will pick these emotionsMore up and this is sure to worsen the situation .direct action sounds like a positive response positivity is always win win
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