Bullying happens quite often with kids, either at school, or at home with siblings. Bullying can be emotional or physical, and both are definitely not OK. Whether the bullying happens at school or at home, you as the parent need to help your child deal with the situation in a healthy manner. See below for ways to help your child deal with a bully.

Signs Of Bullying

Your child may not tell you about the bullying, but there are some signs you can look for to help identify it. 

  • Sudden Changes. Changes in your child's feelings towards school or riding the bus to school are both cause for concern.
  • Lack Of Sleep And Appetite. Lack of sleep and lack of appetite are also cause for concern. Stress from being bullied can cause these to happen.
  • Moodiness. Excessive moodiness or sudden crying spells are also cues that there is a possible problem. 
  • Quitting Sports Or Bad Grades. If your child is suddenly not interested in a sport they have always loved, or is getting bad grades and is usually a good student, there is most likely a problem.

Talking to your child about these signs that you have noticed is a good way to try and get to the bottom of things. You can try and bring it up in a way that doesn't make your child feel like a victim. Ask him how he feels about a bullying situation that you saw on television and ask him if he has ever felt bullied. You can also have a conversation with your child's school to see if there is a problem at school that they may have noticed.

Offer Your Support

When your child tells you that he is being bullied, be sure to offer support in a caring and nurturing way. He is relying on you for your support, so let him talk it out with you. Tell your child that you are proud of him for telling you about the situation and that he should not feel scared, ashamed or alone. Contact the school's principle and counselors to tell them about the bullying and give as much information as possible so the situation can be handled on their end as well. Bullying is a big deal and it should be dealt with, not be left alone. 

Give Advice

You can't be with your child every step of his day to protect him. There are things he needs to do to protect himself against bullies. Standing up for himself is not a good strategy, as fighting back can result in an escalation of the situation and can end poorly. See below for other advice to give instead.

  • Tell An Adult. Have your child tell the principal, guidance counselor, or teacher if he is being bullied at school.
  • Ignore The Bully. Ignoring the bully and avoiding any contact with the bully is best. Ignore remarks made by the bully and don't let the words affect you. Take a different way to class, or to school to avoid as much contact with the bully as possible.
  • Make New Friends. If the bully is part of your child's group of friends, it's best to have him find new friends. Friends may tease, but they definitely do not bully.
  • Join A Group. Have your child join a group, or a sport that he may be interested in to help gain new friends, and to help increase his confidence.

Getting help for your child is a good way to handle a situation with a bully. Have your child talk to a counselor (such as Carol Vinson PhD) to gain further advice and to help limit the lasting effects that bullying can cause.