What can I do if my teen is being bullied?
Real Mom Problem
“My son is constantly telling me how much he hates school because of the bullies. He keeps texting me daily about how bad it is.”
- 1. Talk to your kids about bullies and how to stand up for themselves without getting physical
- 2. Encourage your teen to get involved in positive activities and try to help build their self-esteem
- 3. Always treat others kindly and be an example for your kids
- 4. Remind your kids that bullying, whether you're the bully or the victim, is unacceptable and should always be reported to an adult
Real Mom Solutions
Read on to get the best mom-to-mom advice on what to do if your teen is being bullied.
Talk to the School, Parents, or Police
My son was bullied because of his race, and when I put a stop to it I threatened the school and made my point known. I will not tolerate this type of behavior and even had a lawyer ready if it ever happened again.
I would contact the school about the situation if the event happened at school. I would press charges and get a protective order. At 14 they teach that hitting someone is no longer considered "fighting" but "assault" and will be handled that way. I would take no chances in protecting my daughter.
When my daughter was bullied by a girl online, whom she knew in real life, I went to her school to ask what they would suggest since the girl was from another school district. They told me to call the state police. They informed me that the police would probably not do much or anything because the bullying was via the internet, but at least they would have info on file if by chance the girl started anything in person. I also printed out and kept all of the online posts that the girl made to my daughter. I think the girl got scared when she found out I called the cops because she deleted her account at the site and didn't contact my daughter again via the internet.
I went and had a talk with my daughter's bully's guardian. The grandmother was livid and let her granddaughter have it. Her grandma told her if she did it again she'd be dragging her to the court system herself. From that moment on the other girl left my daughter alone.
From what I have seen as a teacher, bullies like to get a reaction. Does your teen cry or get upset? Having him take a deep breath might help him calm down. Standing up to the bully may help or it may just get him in trouble at school. Our school has a zero-tolerance policy but they didn't really do anything until we threatened to pursue legal action. If the bullying is constant and threats are made you may be able to get a restraining order.
Provide Them with Coping Skills
I teach my kids to be comfortable with themselves, which will give them enough confidence to shake hateful comments. We can't change the way others think, we can only change our own thinking.
A few years ago my son had an issue with bullies. They even pushed him off the bus at a stop that wasn't his and the driver did absolutely nothing. I told my son over and over again these bullies act that way because they are insecure and jealous of him. I told him to ignore them and to not let them see that they were getting to him. I told him he has a heart of gold and is an amazing and smart person. Once these bullies stopped getting the reaction from him they were hoping for, they left him alone.
My daughter was bullied by the other girls in middle school. What helped her was for me to sit down with her and go over all the various situations that would occur. Then I would tell her some quick comebacks to shut the bullies up. They are looking for the kid to get upset over it. When they don't and just throw back a quick comment it makes the bully feel stupid and they move on to an easier target. Not the ideal outcome but let's face it, bullies have always been there and always will be, in school and in life, too. The best thing you can do for your child is to teach them how to respond to it.
Don't make your kids victims. Instilling self-esteem is half the battle. Being okay with not having what the Jones' have also helps. Educate your kids about kids with disabilities and disorders, and teach them how to deal with them. Be a diligent parent and in their lives. A simple "how was school today?" is a great start. Asking if there are any bad kids at school or in the class usually gets a response. Take the initiative and involve the school system from the earliest sign. You can do all of the above and still not guarantee that your child won't be bullied, but it can help drastically with the bullying continuing.
I have found that putting kids in a martial arts class, or anything really that they truly enjoy, can do a lot. Kids that have an activity that they are really good at, tend to have a lot more self-esteem. With strong self-esteem they tend to carry themselves in a far more positive manner. Bullies generally will not pick on a kid that carries him/herself as though they own the place.
Focus on things that will boost your son's self-esteem, like his talents. He needs to realize that a sense of humor is essential in this world and work on toughening up a "thin skin." That's how I dealt with my daughter when she found herself in a bullying situation.
I approve of teaching a child to defend himself. We plan to enroll both of our sons in martial arts.
We just have to keep reminding our teens that popularity and high school get-togethers don't last. It only lasts for a few years while decisions made during that time will last forever. They will still be sad to not be "like everyone else," but it'll soon pass. And if the bullying seems to get worse, maybe you should have your son see a counselor.
I would get your teen into counseling. My daughter loves to go and the lady she goes to is wonderful. She still will not go alone, but it has helped her and me a lot to deal with the bullying. Also, our school has a school police officer who has helped my daughter know she can fight back and how to do it the right way without getting into trouble. It also makes her feel safer to know she can go to him if there is a problem.
If your son says he is depressed, get him help. My 16 year old just told me he's depressed. He has an appointment next week to see a psychiatrist/psychologist.
Remove Them from the Situation
My daughter transferred schools and everything was much better. The problem did not follow her; it was the few bad kids at the other school. I know there are certain rules on how and why they can be transferred but one reason that will work is telling the school that a psychiatrist recommends this for your teen's well being. That is what we did after they turned us down the first time. My daughter's psychiatrist said she would vouch for this but it was not necessary, they transferred her immediately when I mentioned the psychiatrist issue.
If my kid were being bullied, I would get them out of that scenario quick. It is nothing but destructive and will haunt them for life. If that means switching schools, private school, cyber school, whatever. Don't let your kid be a statistic; fight for them. I never wanted my kids in the mess that public schools were. People say aren't you worried about socialization? I say, yes, that's why I home school.
My 14-year-old daughter was bullied at her previous elementary school for being biracial, and having a learning disability. She is very sensitive too. I took her out of her previous school after 5th grade and it's made a world of difference for her. I only regret not taking her out sooner. Maybe look into getting your son involved in some activities outside of the neighborhood, where he can meet other boys who aren't part of a nasty clique.