Help! My Child Is Being Bullied

sad child looking out window with mother

Five steps parents can take to protect their kids.

4. Follow Up. Encourage your child to put her plan into action. Help her rehearse (playfully), and ask how it worked out. You don't want to be pushy about it, but you do want to let her know you think it is important.

5. Affirm. Whatever your child decides and does, affirm it. Of course, you don't want to encourage violent retaliation, and you don't want to affirm abject surrender and acceptance of a victim identity. But you can reframe strategic retreat as survival and seeking help as good sense. 

Many of the other things you might want to do — with the school, the other parents, the bullies themselves or the culture of bullying we live in — are beyond your immediate access or control. You can still do them, but you can depend on them taking plenty of time and the cooperation of others. The steps outlined above are within the scope of your relationship with your child, the most important foundation of his or her sense of safety and security. Start there.