Child & Teen

Understanding School Bullying & How to Help Your Child

Psychology Of Bullying

With the new school year progressing quickly, you and your children are probably settling into the new school routine for each day, a hectic departure from the carefree, slow pace of summer life.

While your child goes to new classes, meets new teachers, makes new friends, and learns new subjects, he/she may be plagued with some old, reoccurring problems. Far too commonly, bullying is an obstacle; bullying could be inhibiting your child’s ability to focus and excel in school.

A recent report indicates that one out of every four students (22%) report being bullied during the school year (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2015). Moreover, only 36% reported being bullied (Petrosina, Guckenburg, DeVoe, and Hanson, 2010). Although you may be well-informed on the topic of bullying, refreshing or furthering your knowledge on how to help can aid your child in tackling the obstacle as safely and effectively as possible.

When a child has been or is being bullied, most parents are impelled to intervene immediately. In addition to this important first step, it is often useful to explore the motives behind why your child is being bullied (specifically from the perpetrator’s perspective). This could give you greater insight into why it continues to happen, and allow you to equip your child with more specific tools to end and prevent it.

The CDC also provides a compilation of up-to-date information about the topic of bullying and some common questions that may further your knowledge.

Myths & Facts about Bullying, Courtesy of

MYTH: It’s only bullying if the child is physically hurt. Words can’t hurt.

FACT: Children have killed each other and committed suicide after being involved in verbal, relationship, or cyber-bullying. Words do hurt and they can have a devastating effect on the emotional wellbeing of a child or teen.

MYTH: My child would never be a bully.

FACT: All kids make mistakes; it’s part of growing up. Parents who deny the possibility that their child is capable of being hurtful make it harder for bullies to get the help they need.

MYTH: Bullies are simply bad people and should be expelled from school.

FACT: There are a lot of reasons why children bully. Some are bullied themselves, at home or elsewhere, others bully only when they feel stressed or overwhelmed.

MYTH: Kids can be either bullies or victims, not both.

FACT: Kids can often change roles, going from victim to bully and back again. For example, a bully in fifth grade may be a victim when he moves to middle school, or a victim in the playground can take revenge and become the bully online.

If bullying means you, or someone you know, feels suicidal, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) in the U.S., or visit IASP or to find a helpline in your country.

Ready to prioritize your mental health?

Great Lakes Psychology Group is here to help. With an extensive network of caring therapists available to meet online or in-person, we make it easy to find the right fit for your unique needs.