Help Your Child

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It’s very important that parents not ignore bullying, whether confirmed or suspected. Your kids are counting on you to help find appropriate and effective ways to handle this difficult situation.

What to Do if You Suspect Your Child is Being Bullied

  • Lovingly ask your child what’s going on. Learn the names of those involved and the details of what’s happening.
  • Don’t assume your child did anything to instigate the bullying.
  • Don’t try to fix the situation yourself. Instead, talk with your child about strategies to use when the bullying occurs. Ask questions like: “What do you think you could say the next time this person says …..?”
  • Don’t tell your child to ignore the bullying or to “toughen up.” These strategies will not prevent future incidents.
  • Don’t tell your child to retaliate against the bullies.
  • Keep a detailed log of any incidents. Print out copies of cyberbullying messages on Facebook, texts or emails. Monitor your child’s online activity.
  • Take immediate action to protect your child’s safety. If the bullying is occurring on the way to and from school, arrange for the child to get to school a different way until the situation is resolved.
  • Enlist the help of another trusted adult if you suspect your child is being bullied but he or she won’t talk to you about it. Possibilities include an aunt or uncle, grandparent, family friend, school counselor or therapist.
  • Do not directly approach the child who is bullying or the parents of the child. This can make the situation worse. Instead, contact your child’s teacher, school counselor and principal.
  • Deal with sibling rivalry. Conflicts at home between brothers and sisters can include persistent bullying.
  • Research shows that when parents spend more quality leisure time with their children and less time arguing with them, siblings are less likely to bully each other. Learn other ways to effectively reduce sibling conflicts by seeking out parenting resources.

How to Help Your Child Respond to Bullying

  • Children who bully seek to intimidate and isolate other children. Ignoring this behavior may not make the conduct stop.
  • Responding with confidence, assertiveness and humor can help stop bullying. If children who bully don’t get the response they’re seeking – anger, fear, sadness – they’ll ultimately move on and leave your child alone.
  • Role play with your child to help them come up with confident responses that deny bullies the reactions they’re seeking.

How to Talk to Your Child’s Teacher/School

  • Make an appointment to talk with your child’s teacher, school counselor or psychologist, and/or principal to discuss the situation. Remember that children who bully often act when an adult is not watching, and social bullying is very difficult to identify, so the school may not be aware of the situation.
  • Ask to hear their plans to intervene and ensure that your child feels safe at school.
  • Work together to identify strategies and resources. The school is your ally in helping your child.

What to Do if Your Child is Suicidal

Get help immediately. Seek out a professional counselor or psychiatrist. If your insurance plan doesn’t provide mental health services and you can’t afford to pay, free or low-cost mental health services are available.

In Southern Arizona, contact:

Southern Arizona Mental Health Corporation (SAMHC)

  • Appointments: (520) 617-0043
  • 24-hour crisis line: (520) 522-6000

Nationally, contact:

The National Hopeline Network

  • 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433)

Learn more:
What is Bullying?
Importance of Bystanders
Signs Your Child May Be a Bully