Counseling for a Child Being Bullied

Your child’s been a bit more reserved coming home from school. When you ask how their day was, the replies are becoming shorter and shorter. They’re withdrawing from social situations, not hanging out with their friends like they used to. Maybe they don’t even want to go to school anymore, something they used to look forward to.

What caused this sudden change? While it’s the answer parents hope isn’t true, it’s important to ask: is my child being bullied?

Bullying can take many forms. It may be physical, verbal, or psychological, and can happen in person or online. With the presence of social media, bullying can happen at any hour of the day or night.

Unfortunately, as a parent, you can’t prevent the actions of other peers towards your child. What you can do, however, is provide love and support. Here are some tips for how to support your child if  they’re being bullied:

Ask QuestionsAs we know, adolescents and teenagers are not all open books. If you suspect your child is being bullied, begin to ask questions about their friends, social groups and who they’re getting along with. Listen without reacting but take a mental note of responses that raise a red flag. Understanding their perspective is key to best understanding how to proceed.
Affirm and EncourageNo matter what other peers may say, bullying is not your child’s fault. It’s important to constantly remind them of this when they feel guilt or shame. Validate their feelings while reminding them who they are. Use positive affirmation daily and never be shy to tell them that you love them and why.
Teach Your Child Coping SkillsUnfortunately, you can’t “fight their battles”. There are, however, tools you can give them on how to respond to a bully, how to stand up for themselves and to find confidence. Some of these tricks can include: writing a list of responses to bullies together, role-play “what if” scenarios and promoting positive body language.
Set Screen Time LimitsSetting limits on your child’s screen time will guarantee them allotted time free from the threat of bullying. Explain to your child why you’re setting these limits and invite them to create the parameters with you. This will invite them to actively engage in standing against the bullying they’re experiencing.
Advocate for Your ChildBe sure to continually monitor the situation. If the situation becomes dangerous or too much for your child, report inappropriate behavior to the school. Have conversations with the parents of the bullies. While this is an opportunity for your child to grow, your first job is to protect them at whatever the cost.
Be a Safe Space
This is the most important support you can provide to your child. Suddenly, school, social media, friends, are all unsafe spaces for them. You have the opportunity to make your home a place they feel safe and loved. Be intentional about spending time with your child, listening to what they’re experiencing and validating their emotions.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about the bullying your child is experiencing, please reach out to a member of our team. Decade2Connect is here to support you and your family.

Our Intensive Outpatient Program is in-network with United!