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How to stop bullying

Updated on January 31, 2012
A lot on his mind...
A lot on his mind... | Source

Kids have plenty to deal with at school, especially at the middle school and high school levels. Besides reading, writing, math, band, gym, and other assorted classes and activities, they have to figure out complex social relationships and deal with bodies that seem to be changing on them every day. Throw in the problem of bullying -- which seems to be getting worse in both its occurrence and consequence -- and we should be thankful as adults that we've already made it past that stage.

A quick glance at Internet news sites will show a disturbing picture. Seth Walsh, 13, committed suicide over long-term bullying. Asher Brown, also 13, and Tyler Clementi, 18, are two others. Regardless of the exact techniques, words, or attacks, and regardless of whether a kid is male or female, gay or straight, bullying is something that can forever damage a child's psychological well-being and can lead to suicide or other destructive behavior.

Often the school system alone will not work to completely protect your child. Here are some tips to stop bullying before it gets out of hand.

  • 1. Encourage your child to be honest with you about what happens at school. Many kids are reluctant to speak to their parents or other authority figure, fearing that they won't be believed or that their attackers will worsen their attacks out of revenge for being reported. Start talking to your kids early, before you're even aware of any problems. Let them know they can come to you about any problem they have.
  • 2. Familiarize yourself with your school's anti-bullying policy. Every school has one, and every school has different avenues for handling complaints. Visit your school or school system's website for policy details and any forms they may have available for reporting problems.
  • 3. Document everything. When your child tells you about a bullying incident, don't try to file it away in your brain for later use. Write it down. Dates, times, areas, instigators, witnesses. If you have the need to visit your child's school to report a problem, documentation will go a long way towards helping them help your child.
  • 4. Have a meeting with school administrators and/or counselors. Talking things over face-to-face with people in charge of discipline and order at the school is a necessary step at stopping bullying before it gets out of hand. Be forceful but polite. You may find that some teachers and principals may have a "boys will be boys" attitude when it comes to bullying but you can't let the problem be dismissed so lightly.
  • 5. Write a letter to the school principal. Letters shouldn't be threatening but should contain definitions of bullying found in your state's laws to show how serious you are at rectifying the situation. Send the letter via certified mail so you have proof of its receipt, and consider sending a copy to the school board, especially if the principal doesn't seem concerned with solving the problem.
  • 6. Consider calling the police at any signs of actual physical violence or credible threats of physical violence. Use your best judgment here; you don't want to act prematurely but the safety of your child is paramount. If you believe he or she is in immediate danger it's best to get the authorities involved.
  • 7. Don't give up! This is the most important thing... don't give up trying to help your child. Don't be afraid to report each incident of bullying to the school, especially if it's coming from the same instigators and is becoming a pattern. The school system is there to serve your child so make them do just that.

Bullying is a serious issue in today's schools and can be a matter of life or death for your child. Be a friend and a protector to your child and let them know you'll do whatever you need to do to keep them safe and make them happy. | Source

It Gets Better

In response to several suicides among teens who were gay or whose peers believed they were gay, Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller created the It Gets Better Project. The goal of the project is to let teenagers, particularly those in the LGBT community, know that they won't have to put up with bullying forever. The project also seeks to give teens advice for getting through their current problems.

The It Gets Better Project has spawned tens of thousands of videos from people of all walks of life, including celebrities like Lady Gaga, Kathy Griffin, Jennifer Love Hewitt and many others, and government officials like President Obama. Businesses like Google, Apple, Sony, and Microsoft have also sponsored videos for the project.

In his video contribution to It Gets Better, President Obama had this to say:

"We've got to dispel this myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage; that it's just some inevitable part of growing up. It's not. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our kids. And for every young person out there you need to know that if you're in trouble, there are caring adults who can help."

You can help, too. Head on over to the It Gets Better website to pledge your support in the battle against bullying.

Have YOU been bullied?

Have you personally experienced bullying at some point in your life?

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    • profile image

      ailsa purdon 

      9 years ago

      Why is bullying such an issue these days? Has it only become such an issue now that children have to stay in school for so long.

      My experience with schools is that the implmentation of anti-bullying policies has to start at the level of the school as a work place and the kinds of relatnioships within it. If the general tenor of the school is racist, if the relatnioships among teachers and between management and staff is disresepctful, this is likely to flow down into relationships among the students.

      Bullying of students by teachers often sets the tone for other students and gets overlooked. Raising the issue with the principal usually results in the principal covering for the teacher. What is the process generally for accountability of schools and teachers to parents as advocates for their children.

    • Rubee profile image


      10 years ago from New York

      Very good hub. We must not keep quiet about bullying.

    • fetty profile image


      10 years ago from South Jersey

      Every step you mentioned has value. Great hub . Congrats. on you nomination, too.

    • technorican profile image


      10 years ago from Houston

      I was bullied in school. It was miserable. Unfortunately, it also happens in the workplace.

    • ChristinaScibona profile image


      10 years ago from The Heart of the Finger Lakes

      This is a great hub with a lot to offer. Congratulations on your Hubnugget nomination!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      10 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Bullying has become all too common in schools these days. You have included some terrific tips. No one should have to tolerate the offensive and damaging behavior of a bully. Great hub.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I had to remove my son from school because of non-stop bullying and the school were useless (and tended to blame my son). My son has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. I've written hubs about this

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Important tips to have for bullying. Thank you for writing this hub. :)

      As travel-man has said, your hub has been handpicked and nominated for the Hubnuggets. Read all about it and voting too by clicking on this link:

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 

      10 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Congratulations to your HubNugget nomination. I wrote about Cyber Bullying, too and became a victim of it on Facebook (with my own countryman-Filipino). Printed words hurt more than verbal bickering which you can ignore easily by fleeing away from your adversary. But bullying on the net, tsk!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Cecil-great writing and sound advice. All steps worth following. I am currently raising my nephew and his first year at his new school was challenging b/c one boy in particular made it his goal to attempt to make him miserable. I say attempt, b/c I was having NONE of it. I followed those steps almost in the exact order. I persisted and after the second offense I told them that I was not going to tolerate what he had the first semester, which was a talking to. It stopped. The boy got an inschool detention and there was no further problems. We were lucky. As we read in the news or watch on tv, some teens and kids of all ages, do not fair as well. It is sickening and all of us parents should be outraged even if the victim is not our direct child. THEY are ALL our children! Even the bullies. It is a frightening world out there for our children and difficult to protect them.

      Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination and welcome to the hubpages community. I'm looking forward to reading more of your work.


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