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Tips for Parents to Address Bullying

Conversation Starters

  • What does bullying mean to you?
  • What is lunch time like at your school?  Who do you sit with, what do you do, and what do you talk about?
  • What’s it like to ride the school bus?  Tell me about it.
  • Have you ever been scared to go to school because you were afraid of being bullied?  What have you done during those times?
  • Now that we are talking about bullying, what can I do to help?
  • What do you usually do when you see bullying going on?
  • Would you be willing to tell someone if you had been bullied?  Why? Why not?
  • What are some good qualities about yourself?  Let’s talk about why it’s so important to feel good about yourself.
  • Focus on your child. Be supportive, listen and gather information about the incident. Try doing an activity while talking such as; walking, baking, or riding bikes.
  • Never tell your child to ignore bullying. What your child may “hear” is that you are going to ignore it. If your child were able to simply ignore it, he or she likely would not have told you about it. Often, trying to ignore bullying allows the situation to become more serious.
  • Contact your child's teacher or principal to report bullying and to find out about the school's bullying prevention plan. Give specific details and then ask for the next steps from the school. Follow up.
  • Keep your emotions in check. Give factual information about your child's experience of being bullied, including who, what, when, where and how.
  • Help your child become more resilient. Talk to your child about being friends with certain people and knowing which friends he or she can count on. Support positive relationships by encouraging them to hang out with kids that make them feel good about themselves.

Tips for Parents to Address Cyber-bullying

  • Ask your child questions, maintain an open dialogue.
  • Keep computer in a common room.
  • Talk about your expectations regarding acceptable online/phone behavior before they receive the privilege. Behavior online should be the same as what you would do in person or in front of someone you respect.
  • Make agreements and set boundaries about accepted use and behavior for online/ phone communication. Often youth don't tell parents because they fear losing technology privileges.
  • Help child think through how the information they put online reflects on them.
  • Inform youth about legal limits and future consequences of harmful posting online or by phone.
  • Ask your child to teach you about programs and technologies you don't understand or of which you don't have familiarity.

Tips for Youth to Stop Bullying

  • Keep yourself safe.
  • Get help. Tell a trusted adult if you see someone in trouble.
  • Support the target. Ask them to join in an activity with you (let's go___, do you want to go get a drink of water?).
  • Distract. Tell the aggressor you don't like talking about people or change the subject.
  • Reason with the aggressor, “You might get into trouble, if you keep bothering that person” or “you might get kicked off the basketball team and we really need you.”
  • Support the person who is being bullied (help them pick up their books, take them to someone who can help, there is power in numbers– just stand beside the person, or ask other friends to support the person).

Tips for Youth to Stop Cyber-bullying

  • Don't initiate, respond to, or forward harmful messages.
  • Think! If something mean is posted or texted about you, don't respond immediately, take a breath and give yourself time to think through your next step. Don't react immediately.
  • Think about your reputation– would you want your grandma, teacher, future employer, someone you don't know-to see that?
  • Privacy– Keep intimate and personal info– private.
  • Trust your gut. If you feel uncomfortable– save and tell an adult.
  • Be safe– Don't meet unknown internet friends without talking to your parents or another adult about it.

Train and Support Bystanders

  • Balancing- Used with the person acting aggressively
    • Put-Up a Put-Down
    • Say something nice to counter balance the negative
    • Exit gracefully---Don’t get into a tug-of-war
  • Supporting- Used with the person being targeted
    • Let them know you care
    • Help them
    • Lead them away
    • Walk with them
  • Distracting- Use with groups or person acting aggressively
    • “Hey, somebody is coming”
    • Provides short-term intervention
    • May need to followed by telling a trusted adult
  • Reasoning- Use with person who is acting aggressively
    • Provide consequences based on their actions
    • If this, then _______.
    • Directing- Use the a group or person acting aggressively
      • Connect first
      • State the facts
      • Say what is NOT okay
      • Request a change
    • Get help
      • When it is too big for you to handle by yourself.

    Spotlight on Bullying

    Spotlight on Bullying

    Spotlight On Bullying focuses on how educators and policymakers are working to prevent bullying and the harmful experience associated with it.

    Thanks to our partners!

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