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What to do When Your Child is Being Picked on at School

Updated on September 13, 2011

How your child is being picked on would depend a lot on the method that you would need to use to handle the situation. 

Despite the method of picking/abuse, you need to talk to your child.  Find out if this is something above the ordinary kids teasing kids.  You need to determine if this is short-term or something that has been on-going.  Will it be something that will blow over in a few weeks or something that is likely to carry on?  Children will have conflicts and teasing will ensue.  If it has a definite cause and is likely to be short term, you need to arm your child with methods of self preservation and stay out of it at any other level.

Methods of self-preservation include:

  • Witty, but not cruel comebacks
  • Methods of Avoidance
  • How to make new friends 

You do need to get more involved if it isn’t something that isn’t likely to end in a few weeks, has been ongoing, takes place outside of school, or is physical. 

Generally, first line of defense is to talk to the teacher(s). Is there an awareness of what is going on? If not, inform them and see what input and help you can get. Is it possible to separate their desks? Can a lesson be incorporated into the lesson plan about not bullying? The short story, “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury, with discussion is excellent for older children while general bully issue is good for younger children. Can there be more supervision at school? DO come with suggestions. DO NOT allow for the situation specifically to be brought up for public discussion. When being discussed all things need to remain general.

Another line of defense, especially with Jr. High and high school children, would be an appointment with the counselor.  Counselors are trained to be able to handle these situations.  Counselors are able to talk with the children in question and determine the root cause; even younger children prefer not to let mom and dad in on all aspects of a situation, and help the kids to work it out.  The counselor will also be able to help the child with other tools to deal with the issue so that your child is able to cope with the situation.

You also need to speak to the principal.  Do not accept any excuses, especially if there is any physical abuse.  A bad home life or behavior issues is not an excuse.  If a child can’t handle their behavior, they need to be separated from other children until they can.  The school’s counselor should be highly involved in helping the child through emotional issues.

If the school will not handle the problem, go to the school board.  Before the next meeting, which you need to be at, email the board.  Explain the problem.  Illustrate the steps you have taken.  Tell them why the school is letting you and your child down.  Ask them to take specific action.  Be reasonable.  Do not let your anger get the better of you.  You catch more flies with honey than vinegar isn’t a cliché without a reason.

If anything takes place off school property, there isn’t much the school can do.  They can help regulate issues at school, but not punish for off-school issues.  In this case, you may want to set up a meeting with the other child’s parents.  You need to find a way to keep it neutral.  This is their baby you are talking about and they will instinctively want to protect their child.  Come armed with specific incidents.  Have ideas in mind.  Don’t blame their child, keep it factual.  Do not involve the child; this should be a parents-only meeting.

 If you don’t make any progress with the parents, and it is highly likely you will not, you may want to call the police.  If there is cyber bullying going on, it needs to end.  Everything on the Internet will always be on the Internet—most things are not ever fully removed, somewhere there can be documents.  Backdoors exist everywhere.  And while kids will get into fights—right or wrong—no one should ever live in fear of being attacked or injured severely.

If none of this helps, you may need to consider other options.  You might need to look into home bounding your child—if the school cannot provide the same safe environment for your child that it does for the other children, you have a good argument for them providing tutors at their cost.  You might need to home school or send your child to private school.  You may even need to look at moving.  Your child’s long term mental health and safety is the utmost priority.  And if all else fails, you can always go to the media—just remember to have documented every phone call, every email, and every incident in detail: names, dates, times, conversations, etc.


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    • profile image

      imsocool 6 years ago

      thanks u helped a lot!!

    • jessicatools profile image

      jessicatools 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      This is a very delicate issue. Some friends of mine lost their 15 year old to suicide a year ago. They think their son may have been picked on inside Facebook. Problem is, Facebook would NOT let them into their dead son's account. They've sent a copy of their son's death certificate and contacted their state level politicians. Facebook's privacy policy says that 13 year olds have a right to privacy. They may never know what happened.

    • profile image

      lookingforhelp!!!!!!!!!! 6 years ago

      I have talked to the teachers and principal and since this new principal came to our school it seems she has her favorite students and partents and we are not in that group. Our school never had any problems like this and I never heard anybody talk about our school the was they are now. I have had other children attend this school before the new principal and it appears that a lot of parents feel this way. What to do we are in a small community where everybody knows everybody.

    • LelahKimball profile image

      LelahKimball 6 years ago from USA

      Keep talking to the school for starters. Esculate it up. If the teacher won't help, go to the principal. It it is the principal who isn't helping, email the superintendent. If there is a counselor, go to him/her. Have the kids put into some type of anti-bullying program at school or talk to the parents. Although, that can be tricky.

      In the mean time, give your child ways to handle it. Ignoring it does NOT help in most cases. You need to give him/her the tools. Things to say. Places to go (a sympathetic teacher). Record EVERYTHING. Worse comes to worse, there are laws about this now and as a last resort, you can go to the police.

    • profile image

      lisa anderson 6 years ago

      my nine yeah old is beinging picked on at school ive talked to the school but it is still happering does any one else know wot else i can do to help him

    • Vanessa Anderson profile image

      Vanessa Anderson 6 years ago from The Sunshine State

      Great hub! Of a daughter who just started school, I worry about this. She has told me that she likes everyone that's in her class, so hopefully we won't have this problem this year, or any year that is. But if we do, it's nice to read this advice on how to handle.

    • chaunatye profile image

      chaunatye 7 years ago

      Great article and I think it's so important for parents who are dealing with this situation to follow your advice. Bullying isn't the same as it was when I was in school, today's kids are a lot scarier then they ever have been. This is really good for parents who feel backed into a corner and don't know what to do.

    • profile image

      Hanna Smith 7 years ago

      Very informative hub. I know how it feels to be bullied since I was a victim of it also. What I did to deal with the situation is to talk to them personally in a nice manner, and it turned out well. I would suggest this service that I registered on my cell phone, which could really help if someone will try to bully you. This application enables to summon help and ask for an immediate response if emergency arises not only that it will notify your friends, family and the nearest 911 in your area. This is how I protect myself check out,

    • profile image

      scholarshipsformo 7 years ago from California

      I have been seeing a lot of commercials on bullying lately on tv. I didn't bullying became so bad.

    • profile image

      emily 7 years ago

      I totally understand what it's like to be picked on. I was a very sensitive child and never quite fit in. I remember being in music class and no one would pick me to be in their group. so the teacher, in her infinite wisdom, apologized to me and stuck me in the corner for the rest of the music class, saying that she just didn't know what to do. my parents NEVER knew about all of this. it went on my whole school life. i had parents that were fighting and, while I knew they loved me and would have thrown a fit, i was too shy to say anything. I also didn't start going to school until 1st grade. no kindergarten (my parents think children should be with their parents until 1st grade). While I tend to agree somewhat, I'm determined that to head off any kind of problems fitting in with my son (i'm not saying I can make it perfect for him; his father and i were both misfits, it's in his genes), but I think there are some positive things I can do. For one, he's going to start going to daycare when he's one. Just for a few mornings a week, but I think he needs social interactions in groups of children to learn how to be part of a group. I never had that. I worked at a daycare for years and I will look for one that has teachers that understand about how to talk to children - "we are gentle with our friends", that sort of thing. Learning about peace and friendship has to start young. I also plan to be aware and stay completely involved, while avoiding being overly intrusive. Kids DO NEED to learn to deal with adversity - we cant always swoop in and fix things. I want my children to know how to handle these kinds of situations, coming out of them feeling stronger, but never, EVER sinking to a bullies level. Bullies almost always come from some sort of dysfunctional home.. you can bet they are getting beat, spanked (more than rarely), or told to shut up. So, not being allowed to express or taught to deal with these emotions (as in: you hit someone? I'll hit you to teach you not to do that! You're angry and mad at mommy? I'll teach you by getting angry at you - spanking you, and then watch me yell at daddy when I get mad), they come out when mom and dad are not around. It gives them a sense of control, which they obviously don't have at home. This does not excuse their behavior, but I can see why it happens. I will also never hesitate to go to the school board, if I have to, to try and get result. And if private school is needed, so be it.

      While you can never totally prevent these things from happening, helping them to learn and grow and to feel confident about themselves coming out of these situations is the key. Bad things will happen. It's a part of life and sometimes all you can do is be present for them. But bullying is another matter that should never be tolerated.

    • profile image

      mommy22 7 years ago

      I have been extremely worried about my older daughter who just turned 5 and is in PreK this year at a new school. She started having some issues @ her daycare last year before summer with a couple of name calling episodes that I know of and then had some other issues physically. I feel she is a very strong-willed, anxious child @ times, but loves to play with others and make friends. I feel she is awkward somehow which brings some of the social issues on. I can try and give her ways to cope and be resilient, but I think it is very hard @ a young age. I really struggle with constant worry again now that she is @ new school and I am starting to see some things start to emerge as of today. I wish I didn't have to work as much so that I could pick her up earlier. I can't be with her all the time and cannot live her life for her, but i want her to be happy and well-adjusted. any advice on how any of y'all have coped with the heartache?

    • profile image

      Stephanie 7 years ago

      Well have u tried talking to the headteacher

    • profile image

      Pitchkie 8 years ago

      I have just came across your website and already feel supported and not alone. My son is 5 years old, he is 4ft 5 and weighs 88 pounds (40kgs). He is not fat in my opinion, rather heavy set and solid. He is extremely outgoing, talkative, happy, loving and kind. My concern is that the comments he hears from some of the slightly older kids at school eg fat and one even said fat ass will affect him and change his personality. It has blown my mind that kids as young as 6 can and are so cruel. We have him in martial arts, he hates it, but, I don't want him to gutter fight if it ever presents. My husband is 6ft 6 and weighs 330 pounds, I am far from petite myself.

      How do other parents handle this situation, what do you say to your child that will allow the comments (from only a couple of kids)to slide off his back?

      Thank you

    • profile image

      roarsmom6 8 years ago

      My daughter is 6 as well, and has been having issues with the same girl for almost 2 years now. It started with mean remarks and escalated to pushing, shoving, throwing sand, etc. I talked to the teacher, and it got a little better-temporarily. This child has some major behavioral issues, and the school is well aware of it, but it seems they are not able to prevent it. At home, my daughter is all attitude, but I know at school, she tends to be shy and more of a push-over. This year, she is, once again, in the same class with this child. So far, it isn't as bad as last year, but at least once a week, she comes home to tell me some nasty thing that was said. I've talked to her new teachers, and they promise to keep an eye out, but I feel like the prblem is not getting handled. School is different then when I went, and my parents taught me to fight back, but that teaching is frowned upon these days (in a post Columbine world). I dont want to be that parent that all of the school officials hate, but I refuse to let my daughter be picked on. It is too early for school to become a negative experience.

    • profile image

      Ezze Monah 9 years ago

      When I was in high school I use to get bullied, picked on, being called names, and threatened all the time, but I never told anyone about that because I was afraid that the kids would do something to me. I graduated from high school in 1998. There was this kid who would always picked on me, bullied me, take my lunch, beat me up, and called me names. I never liked being friends with him because of the way he would always treat me. Now looking back at that I feel so bad that I never reported that. I was always quite most of the times in class. I never really talk much to the other students. I wonder why would kids pick on me? What did I ever do to deserve that?

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 9 years ago

      informitive hub lot of good info

    • ontheway profile image

      ontheway 9 years ago

      My child is being picked on at school What do I do_

      Very good article, thank you to share, welcome to my space to see

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 9 years ago from Ohio

      Lelah, Thanks for the informative hub! My son gets bullied at school. He is large for his age, has always been bigger than the other kids. On the other hand he is very sensitive and kind, not really a plus at school for little boys. We struggle with this and I would hate for him to lose his kindness.

      Some kids were picking on a new girl from another country who did not speak English well. My son stuck up for her, even though he did not know her. They said if he wanted to be friends with her then he couldn't be friends with them. He basically told them with friends like you, who needs enemies, and became friends with the girl instead. I was soooo proud of him!

      MamaDragonfly, I was a very big girl growing up also. I was always the tallest in my class. The girls constantly made fun of me. I love being tall, but to this day I wonder how I would have turned out if I was petite. Probably I would fit in with the herd better and not be such a fighter for the underdog.

      I can remember going home in tears so many times and my mother was always there for me! I am glad she has a mom like you!

    • LelahKimball profile image

      LelahKimball 9 years ago from USA

      MamaDragonfly-- Your daughter is very lucky to have such a caring, PROACTIVE mother! You'll do/are doing right by her. If you read my Mean Girl Letter hub, you'll see my advice comes from looking backwards as an adult from her (the victim) point of view.

    • MamaDragonfly2677 profile image

      Shannon 9 years ago from New York

      Thanks Lelah. My thoughts, exactly... My daughter has a very "unique" personality, and I think I've done good so far with the advice I give her.

      And I'll do even better taking YOUR advice. Again, thanks.

    • LelahKimball profile image

      LelahKimball 9 years ago from USA

      It sounds as though there may be some emotional ostracizing going on; that your daughter just doesn't fit in with the rest of the little girls in her class. I'd definitely talk to her teacher--nip this in the bud before things get worse. Her teacher probably has lots of ideas that can help her, or help you help her, to fit in a little more. Just don't let your daughter give up who she is to be one of the crowd!

    • MamaDragonfly2677 profile image

      Shannon 9 years ago from New York

      Great, informitive hub Lelah. Thanks SO much for answering this request.

      My daughter is 6 yrs old. She's a "toughy" at home, seeing she is big for her age. (When saying "big" I don't mean fat... I mean my 6 year old is over 4ft tall, weighs over 70 pounds, and wears a size 8+ pants size) She's tall and "thick", so someone bullying her just doesn't sound right... I don't know exactly what is going on (yet) but I'm getting to the bottom of it now.

      I believe her biggest desires are to be "girlie", but her size, and amount of energy and power makes her "not so girlie"... I am wondering if the little girls in her class may feel "intimidated" by her, and maybe my daughter doesn't know how to handle it...

      I'm lost on how to explain this to her, besides being honest, as she is very smart, and ahead of herself, (so-to-speak). I don't want to rain on her parade. I wonder,how does a mom deal with this?


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