What To Do If You Notice Bullying

Are you worried that your child might be a bully or being bullied? Parents have an awful lot to worry about these days, but bullying seems to be a growing trend. Children are becoming bullies during their school hours, at home on their social media accounts, and anywhere else you can possibly imagine. Knowing the warning signs and how to help can give you everything you need to be prepared for any potential bullying that your child does.

If you have been concerned that your child is a bully, check out some of these facts about what bullying is, how you can spot it, and how you can help to prevent it from happening in the first place.

What is Bullying?

Most of us have seen the television programs and heard the horror stories of how mean kids can be on the playground at school. Unfortunately, these stories are too true and they are referred to as bullying. Bullying is a very serious problem that takes place among school-aged children during and outside of school hours. It can have a lasting impact on both the child who is bullied and the child who is the bully.

Many different actions can be considered bullying, but it always involves a real or imagined power imbalance. One child believes that they have more power than another, leading them to act aggressively toward that child. This power imbalance might be caused by the child’s physical size, their popularity, or their access to extremely personal and embarrassing information about the other child. These actions, whatever they may be, are often repeated time and again.

There are three main types of bullying that should be addressed: verbal bullying, social bullying, and physical bullying.

Verbal Bullying

Verbal bullying includes saying or writing mean things about another child and can include teasing, name-calling, taunting, or threatening them. It should be noted that this type of bullying can take place during school hours or outside of school through social media accounts. Verbal bullying is often done both online and offline.

Social Bullying

This type of bullying is designed to damage a child’s reputation or to hurt their relationships with other people. Examples of social bullying include:

  • Spreading rumors
  • Embarrassing someone in public
  • Leaving someone out of a game or conversation
  • Telling others not to speak to someone

Much like verbal bullying, social bullying can take place both during school hours and outside of school. Social media makes it easy for children to spread damaging rumors about one another or to purposely exclude children from the conversation.

Physical Bullying

Physical bullying is still an extremely common form of bullying among children. It involves hurting a person’s body or their possessions. Popular forms of physical bullying include hitting, tripping, pushing, spitting, or breaking someone’s belongings.

Where Does Bullying Happen?

Unfortunately, bullying can happen almost anywhere these days. A lot of these actions are performed during school hours, but they are just as likely to happen outside of school hours or when children are on the playground, the school bus, and other locations with minimal supervision.

One of the most prominent areas where children are currently bullied is on social media. They are often taunted and teased by many children all at once. These platforms also make it extremely easy to spread rumors, embarrassing photographs, and more information that can damage a child’s reputation in school. However, not all bullying is done online.

Bullying can even occur inside the home with parents and the other siblings in the house. One child might constantly taunt or tease the others, attempt to threaten the parent to do what they want, and even hurt their siblings physically when they don’t get what they want. It is relatively common to see this take place inside of the home as well.

Reasons to Seek Help

It is extremely important to seek help for a bully as early as possible. Without this additional help, you might find that your child grows accustomed to the aggressive behavior. Bullying might be something that continues for them throughout their school years and into adulthood.

Because they have grown accustomed to the violent and risky behavior found in bullying, many children will seek out more criminal activities as adolescents and adults. Some of these common activities can include:

  • Substance abuse
  • Physical fights
  • Dropping out of school
  • Vandalizing private property
  • Early sexual activity
  • Criminal convictions or traffic citations
  • Physical abuse toward their partners or children

Many of these activities can be avoided if you obtain help for a bully as early as possible. However, you must be able to spot the warning signs in order to do so.

How to Prevent and Minimize Bullying

The best thing you can do to prevent and minimize bullying is to understand the warning signs that your child might be bullying or getting bullied. Here are just a few of the signs that you will want to be aware of:

  • Frequent physical fights or verbal fights with others
  • Friends with other bullies
  • Becoming increasingly more aggressive
  • Frequent detentions
  • Sent to the principal’s office often
  • Constant worry over their reputation and popularity
  • Blaming others for their problems
  • Unexplained money or new belongings or missing items

When you do believe that your child is a bully or being bullied, it is important to seek help right away. Begin by having a conversation with your child about how their actions are unacceptable. You can start by issuing a consequence that forces them to pay restitution to the child that they were bullying. For example, they may have to work to pay back money that they stole or to return a sweater that they took.

If the bullying primarily took place on social media, then you might need to find ways to be more involved on their accounts. Request their passwords or take away their social media privileges altogether. This can quickly stop a bully in their tracks if social media was their main outlet for making fun of or threatening others.

Last but not least, seek some therapy for your child to help get to the bottom of the issue they are experiencing. You might want to enroll them in talk therapy to see why they feel the need to bully others, help them come up with more productive coping mechanisms, and identify any faulty thinking patterns that the child may have.

There is definitely hope and healing available for a child who turns out to be a bully. Be sure to stop bullying in its tracks whenever you first catch wind of it in order to obtain the best possible outcome for your child. The sooner that you find help for them, the better.


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*Articles and all content on our site are for educational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice. Please consult your licensed clinician for a proper evaluation.


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