What Can Parents Do?

  • Parents play a key role in preventing and responding to bullying. If you know or suspect that your child is involved in bullying, there are several resources that may help. 

    • Recognize the warning signs that your child is involved in bullying. They could be being bullied, bullying others, or witnessing bullying.  Although these signs could signal other issues, you should talk to your child if they display any sort of behavioral or emotional changes.  Many times kids won’t ask for help, so it is important to know what to look for. If your child is at immediate risk of harming himself or others, get help right away.

    • Learn what bullying is and what it is not. Understanding what bullying is is the first step in forming a plan to prevent or respond to bullying with your child. Many behaviors that look like bullying may be just as serious, but may require different response strategies.  You can also learn about (1) The frequency of bullying (2) Who is at risk for being bullied and bullying others; (3)The effects of bullying

    • Cyberbullying often requires different strategies than in-person bullying.  Learn how to work with your kids to prevent cyberbullying and how to respond when it occurs.

    • Utilize tips and tools to talk to your child about bullying. Opening lines of communication before your child is involved in bullying makes it easier for them to tell you when something happens. It is also important to work with a school to help prevent bullying before it starts.

    • If you know or suspect bullying has occurred, learn how to find out what has happened with your child. Understanding what has happened can also help in communicating with school or community officials about the situation.

    • If you have determined bullying has occurred, learn how you and school or community officials can work together to support your child, whether they were bullied, bullied others, or witnessed bullying.  Learn also about considerations for specific groups.

    • If bullying is occurring at school, learn about what your state requires schools to do in your state’s anti-bullying law. Learn also about federal laws that require schools to address harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex, and disabilities and ways to report situations that have not been adequately addressed to the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice.


    Tips on Helping Your Child Cope With Anger

    1. Relaxation Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings. There are books and courses that can teach you relaxation techniques, and once you learn the techniques, you can call upon them in any situation. Some simple steps you can try: Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm; breathing from your chest won't relax you. Picture your breath coming up from your "gut."Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "relax," "take it easy." Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply.Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from either your memory or your imagination. 

    2. Cognitive Restructuring Simply put, this means changing the way you think. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colorful terms that reflect their inner thoughts. When you're angry, your thinking can get very exaggerated and overly dramatic. Try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones. For instance, instead of telling yourself, "oh, it's awful, it's terrible, everything's ruined," tell yourself, "it's frustrating, and it's understandable that I'm upset about it, but it's not the end of the world and getting angry is not going to fix it anyhow." Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything, that it won't make you feel better (and may actually make you feel worse). 

    3. Problem Solving Sometimes, our anger and frustration are caused by very real and inescapable problems in our lives. Not all anger is misplaced, and often it's a healthy, natural response to these difficulties. There is also a cultural belief that every problem has a solution, and it adds to our frustration to find out that this isn't always the case. The best attitude to bring to such a situation, then, is not to focus on finding the solution, but rather on how you handle and face the problem.  

    4. Better Communication Angry people tend to jump to conclusions, and some of those conclusions can be very inaccurate. The first thing to do if you're in a heated discussion is slow down and think through your responses. Don't say the first thing that comes into your head, but slow down and think carefully about what you want to say. At the same time, listen carefully to what the other person is saying and take your time before answering.  

    5. Changing Your Environment Sometimes it's our immediate surroundings that give us cause for irritation and fury. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you and make you feel angry at the "trap" you seem to have fallen into and all the people and things that form that trap. Give yourself a break. Make sure you have some "personal time" scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful.