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Bullying Prevention, Children Ages 3 to 19 Years

About one in five students in an average U.S. classroom experiences bullying directly, either being bullied, or bullying another student. The good news is that you, as a parent or caregiver, can play a major role in preventing bullying.

What is bullying?

Bullying is when a person or group of people hurts or scares a victim on purpose. Usually, bullying happens over and over with the same people. Some examples of bullying behaviors are punching, shoving, spreading rumors, teasing, or not letting someone be part of a group. Bullying can happen in person or online (cyberbullying).

When does bullying happen?

Bullying can begin as early as the preschool years. Bullying behaviors become more intense during middle school, and can continue into high school. Bullying can happen anywhere groups of kids meet, like at school, camp, or in an afterschool or daycare setting.

What are some signs that my child is being bullied?

  • Damage or loss of clothing and other personal items that your child cannot explain
  • Signs of physical abuse, like bruises and scratches
  • Loss of friends; change in friends
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities (avoidance of attending school)
  • Unusually sad, moody, anxious, angry, or depressed
  • Headaches, stomach aches, or other physical complaints
  • Starts doing poorly in school

What should I teach my child about bullying?

In every instance of bullying, there are bullies, victims, and bystanders. Your child could fall into any of these categories. The most important thing you can do is talk to your child about bullying. Teach him or her that it is unacceptable, and that all people should be treated kindly and respectfully. Also, teach your child that if he sees bullying or is being bullied he should tell you or another trusted adult- then you can work together on a plan to stop the bullying.

Where can I learn more about bullying?