Bully-Proofing your Child (How to)

Parents play a key role in the prevention of and responding to bullying. By understanding what bullying is and what bullying is not, you can help your child understand what bullying is so they can better identify if it is happening to them. There are many factors that parents must understand such as contributing behaviors, warning signs, roles kids play, labeling, and how to talk to your child or teenager about bullying.

The list below will help you gain a perspective on bullying:

1. What is Bullying & What it is NOT?

According to StopBullying.gov (2013), “bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems (Para. 1).

To be considered bullying the behavior must be:

Aggressive: behavior of the bully is aggressive.

Must include an imbalance of power (such as): physical strength, access to embarrassing information, control to (harm others), or popularity (stopbullying.gov, 2013).

Bullying behavior: happens more then one time (stopbullying.gov, 2013).

Actions can include: attacking someone either verbally or physically, creating and spreading rumors, making threats, or purposeful exclusion from a group (stopbullying.gov, 2013).

Types of Bullying (3 Types):

Verbal (bullying):


Name calling

Inappropriate (sexual comments)


Threating to cause harm (stopbullying.gov, 2013).

Social Bullying (AKA, relational bullying):

Purposefully leaving someone out

Telling others not to be friends with someone

Spreading rumors (about someone)

Public humiliation (embarrassing someone) (stopbullying.gov, 2013).

Physical Bullying (hurting or harming someone’s body or possessions):




Purposefully breaking someone’s things

Making rude or mean hand gestures

Bullying can occur during or after school hours (in school, on the bus, playground, or in the victim’s neighborhood) (stopbullying.gov, 2013).

Bullying: What you NEED TO KNOW:

What you Need to Know about Bullying

2. Cyberbullying & Why it is Different and why it increases the danger for the victim:

Electronic equipment such as a tablet, cell phone, computer are devices used as a communication tool through communication mediums such as; social media sites, websites, texting, chatting, and messaging. These devices are used as a tool to bully others by creating fake social site profiles, creating rumors on social networking sites/sending emails/ or texts, which can include embarrassing pictures and made up comments about someone else (stopbullying.gov, 2013).

Cyberbullying is DIFFERENT: (stopbullying.gov, 2013)

Cyberbullies often bully in person as well!

Much harder to get away from the behavior because

It can happen 24 hours & 7 days a week!

The posts or messages can be anonymously posted & distributed quickly and easily to a very large audience (difficult and sometimes impossible to trace the source)!

Deleting the harassing messages, posts, or texts can be difficult once it is out there!

3. Who is at Risk + Risk Factors:

While there is not one single factor that puts a child at risk of being bullied, some groups have a higher risk of being bullied such as: (stopbullying.gov, 2013)

(LGBT) lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender youth

Youths with disabilities

Socially isolated youths (stopbullying.gov, 2013)

Children who are at Risk of being bullied (have one or more then one risk factor) risk associated to the child or teen being different then their peers: (stopbullying.gov, 2013)



Wears glasses

New to the school/area

Clothing is not (what’s considered in)

Weak or perceived as appearing weak

Child/Teen is depressed/anxious/low self-esteem

Not popular (has very few or no friends)

Child/Teen does not or cannot get along with others (and is seen as annoying/provoking/antagonizing) to get the attention of others (stopbullying.gov, 2013).

4. Effects of Bullying:

The affects of bullying can be felt by everyone, and is linked to family both family hardships and negative outcomes for the bullied child/teen. The impacts of bullying include: (stopbullying.gov, 2013)

Substance abuse (alcohol & drugs)

Suicide (because of the negative emotional trauma may have thoughts of suicide)

Depression, anxiety, increased feeling of loneliness/sadness, loss of appetite, loss of interest in activities, decreased sleep, and these issues will persist into adulthood (if left untreated)

Academics (decease in achievements/GPA) and are highly likely to:

Skip or drop out of school (stopbullying.gov, 2013).

5. Warning Signs (is my child being bullied): (stopbullying.gov, 2013)

If you are concerned that your child/teen is being bullied look for changes in the child/teen (be aware not all will exhibit the warning signs listed below) (stopbullying.gov, 2013).

Injuries the child/teen cannot explain

Destroyed/Lost personal items (clothing, books, electronic devices, etc.)

Frequent health issues (stomach, head, or illness)

Eating habits, changes such as under or over eating

Sleeping (frequent nightmares or insomnia)

Declining grades, interest in school, or does not want to go to school

Avoidance of (social situations) or suddenly loses friends

Decrease in self esteem, or sudden increase of feeling helpless

Self-destructive behaviors such as, cutting or harming themselves, run away attempts, or suicidal talk (stopbullying.gov, 2013).

6. Addressing the Bullying (how to talk to your child/teen about bullying): (stopbullying.gov, 2013).

Help your child/teen understand what bullying or cyberbullying is

Constant open two-way communication (about school, friends, concerns, or questions)

Be a good role model (teach your child/teen who to be both kind and respectful to others)

Encouragement (encourage your child/teen to do what they love)

By addressing all the information that has been covered in this article:

You can help your kids understand and learn to stand up to bullying safely by employing the help of professional San Diego therapists. (stopbullying.gov, 2013).

Be more then a Bystander! Stop Bullying now

Life is full of struggles, but… it is how you deal with those struggles that will define you. If you’re concerned that your child or teenager has become a victim of bullying or is currently being a bully, we can help! SAGE Therapy Center was developed with an intent and purpose! At SAGE Therapy Center, their team of gifted therapists are real people who have gone through many of the same struggles you are experiencing. Remember, with love/openness, and understanding… anything is possible!

Read the article link below written by the Chicago Tribune: Contributed by the owner and gifted therapist who started SAGE Therapy Center

Chicago Tribune: When the bully belongs to you The first step for parents: Recognize the problem



Wright, J. (2012, November 9). PODCAST: Bullying, Depression, and Suicide | Blog | StopBullying.gov. Retrieved December 7, 2013, from http://www.stopbullying.gov/blog/2012/11/09/podcast-bullying-depression-suicide

Copeland, PhD, W. E., Wolke, PhD, D., Angold, MRCPsych, A., & Costello, PhD, J. E. (2013, February 20). JAMA Network | JAMA Psychiatry | Adult Psychiatric Outcomes of Bullying and Being Bullied by Peers in Childhood and Adolescence. Retrieved December 7, 2013, from http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1654916#METHODS

StopBullying.gov (n.d.). Bullying Definition | StopBullying.gov. Retrieved December 7, 2013, from http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/definition/index.html

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Alison Strate