Sad african schoolgirl reading humiliating message, cyber bullying embarrassment

How to Help the Bullies and the Bullied

Bullying is unwanted, repeated, aggressive behavior toward someone, including making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, purposefully excluding someone from a group, and harassing someone online.

Bullying can affect everyone and cause problems for those involved. Take a stand against bullying, whether your child is bullying or being bullied.

If Your Child is the Bully:

  • Communicate. Talk with your child and let them or her know bullying behavior will not be tolerated.
  • Find out why. Bullies are not just “bad kids.” Oftentimes, there are underlying problems (such as low self-esteem) that lead to bullying. The “why” is not an excuse for the behavior; rather, it helps you know how to discipline (without shaming) and work to teach your chlid new skills that avoid bullying.
  • Support the school’s discipline. This teaches your child about consequences and that you will not rescue him or her from the pain that comes with the consequences of bullying.
  • Encourage your child to make it right (e.g., apologize) and continue to monitor his or her behavior for any future bullying.

If Your Child is Bullied

  • Communicate. Try asking, “I’m worried about you. Are there any kids a tschool who may be picking on you or bullying you?” Don’t overreact if your child’s answer is yes; instead, let your child know it isn’t his or her fault and that you are there to help.
  • Alert the school. Talk with your child’s school or teacher(s) and come up with a solution to stop the bullying. Avoid confronting the bully or his or her parents.
  • Follow up. Talk with your child and the school to ensure that the bullying has stopped. If it hasn’t, try the methods at

This blog was written by Hope Squad. Hope Squad student members are trained to be aware of their peers and watch for warning signs. They learn to show empathy to their peers, listen without judgment, and reduce stigma regarding help-seeking and mental illness. Hope Squads are now in over 1,200 schools across 35 states and Canada. During the seventeen years since Timpview High School started a Hope Squad, the school has not lost a student to suicide. And as Hope Squad grows, we will continue to spread hope and save more lives. Learn more by visiting