Steps to Handle Bullying

parentingages and stages

Growing up, many of us experienced some form of bullying. Either we were the victim of it or watched other be bullied. Unfortunately, it is a common experience for many children and adolescents. When I was in 3rd grade, a group of girls started bullying me so much that I asked my mother if I could switch schools. To this day I am so glad she really listened to me and let me change schools so that I could have a fresh start with a new group of classmates.

There has always been bullying, but I think the attitude and awareness on how to handle it has changed. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ASPCC) reports that 6 out of 10 American youth witness bullying at least once a day. The bullying can be either verbal or physical, and boys tend to use physical intimidation or threats regardless of the gender of the victims. Girls tend to bully other girls, and it is usually verbal abuse. What we are seeing now in our technological world is online bullying in chat rooms, email, and on social networking sites. These social media platforms weren’t around when we were kids, so I feel for the students of today as it is tough to avoid if you become a target.

Children who become a target and are constantly bullied experience real suffering. It can affect their social and emotional development and even their schoolwork. I know for me, it got to the point that I started to dread going to school. According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), most bullying occurs on playgrounds, in lunchrooms, in bathrooms, on school buses, or in unsupervised halls.

It is up to parents and educators to talk about this important issue with their children and students. If you suspect that your child or a student of yours is bullying others, intervene as quickly as possible as bullying can lead to serious academic, social, and emotional difficulties. If you suspect that your child or student is the victim of bullying, provide them with an opportunity to talk about it with you. It helps to explain to them that this isn’t their fault and to ask them what they think should be done to stop the bullying. Sometimes just asking the bully to stop can have surprising results according to the AACAP. However, if it continues, it is important to involve the school principal, counselor, and teacher and develop a strategy to best handle the situation.

I recently came across a great resource for parents and teachers with the IT'S COOL TO BE CLEVER book and app. This story is about Edson Hendricks who overcame bullying as a child to become one of the world’s top computer scientists and invented the network design for the Internet. According to Leanne Jones, the author of IT'S COOL TO BE CLEVER, “They have included in the app Edson Hendricks life story, as well as some insights into practical programs from the materials on bullying that have been contributed by the Red Cross, the Council for Exceptional Children, and the U.S. Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.” The developers of this great app have made it free for the rest of the year, as they want to share this important and inspiring story with children of all ages and their parents. I think this app is amazing and anyone who is interested in how the internet came to be and learn how Mr. Hendricks overcame bullying to become one of our most important computer scientists will find this to be a fascinating read and resource!  You can read more at:

What resources have you found that have helped you and your children deal with bullying?

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.


Melissa Northway, M.S., is the author of Penelope the Purple Pirate, a Top 25 iTunes Book App.  She enjoys yoga, writing and hanging out with her family.  Her tomboy inspired her to write about a spunky redhead who likes to have adventures and at the same time teach little ones the importance of treating others with respect and kindness.  You can reach Melissa at: and on Penelope's Facebook Page:

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