Skip to main content

Talking with Your Kids About Bullying

Guest Post
By Dr. Mildred Peyton
June 21, 2016

As a mother of two school-aged daughters, a bullying expert, and children and youth advocate, I'm here to inform parents, in particular, that bullying is not to be taken lightly and, to provide parents with five tips of what to highlight as they talk with their children about bullying.

Before divulging my five tips to parents (and anyone reading this article), first, I want readers to understand what bullying is. By definition, bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that is repeated, or has the potential of being repeated, and involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the victim and the bully (also known as the perpetrator).  Simply put, for a behavior to constitute bullying, there must be recurrences of aggression (in the form of physical, verbal, social, and cyberbullying) aimed at a specific target.

When it comes to talking to your children about bullying, it is important that parents take the time to do their homework (i.e., research) before starting the conversation. More than likely their definition or understanding of bullying is no longer feasible. For example, in the past, bullying was acceptable or was not seen serious among children and youth; it was considered a right of passage for children growing up, as it was normal and all right for kids to argue, and even get into a few scuffles, especially boys. Today, this is not the case, as those notions of behaviors once deemed okay are obsolete, as they could potentially lead to bullying. With today's status quo of bullying, we must not turn a blind eye or a deaf ear; instead, we must heed its warnings and effects. Bullying has evolved and has become an epidemic over the past decade and has triggered great concerns as well as igniting conversations among parents, policymakers, school officials, and human services professionals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), kids bullied are twice as likely to commit suicide or have suicide ideations than nonvictims; and in a 2013 nationwide survey, 20% of high school students reported being victims of bullying while on school property. Another source stated that 60% of fourth- through eighth-grade children reported being victims of bullying. These statistics are alarming and support further records showing that 160,000 kids stay home each day in an effort to escape bullying.  The most disturbing findings revealed that 86% of adolescent students reported that being bullied causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in school. This concept ties with the effects of bullying and how it was pinpointed that in 12 of 15 shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being victims of bullying.

Bearing all this in mind, let us now get into the tips you've been waiting to discover: what parents must include in their conversations about bullying.  I highly recommend parents of school-aged children incorporate my five tips below when talking with their kids about bullying:

1. Talk with your kids about what bullying is and how to address it safely.  After you've defined bullying with your children, you will want to brainstorm ways to safely approach/report the situation. This could mean getting the school to become aware of the incidents (e,g., tell a teacher, coach, counselor, principal, etc.), and minimizing contact with the perpetrator(s).

2. Talk with your kids about the importance of maintaining an open line of communication.  As parents, we cannot allow our adult lives and responsibilities to overshadow our time with our children. We must make time each day to ask our children about their day in school and not settle for simply, "It was okay", or "It was good/bad."  Probe to understand why or what made their day the way they described it. This way, if they were being bullied, you would have already established some comfort level, enabling you to help them talk with you at ease. Also, having an open line of communication allows parents to notice red flags and use them to help and protect their kids.

3. Talk with your kids about being resilient and not accepting someone to bully them. By now, we should all be aware that being bullied cannot be avoided. However, we parents must empower and inspire our children to always speak up for themselves and others without compromising their safety. When kids stand up and tell their parents or a trusted adult, they lower their chances of being future targets.

4. Talk with your kids about not bullying others.  Most times, parents seldom address the fact that their child/children can potentially and intentionally cause harm to their peers. We must not shy away from this notion, but instead, embrace it and teach our children how to respect others and treat others the way they would like to be treated.

5. Talk with your kids about making good decisions. Ultimately our actions and behaviors stem from the decisions we make. Someone can make the decision whether or not he or she will become a bully or a victim of bullying.  Overall, when we have this discussion with our kids, they will learn to make deliberate and conscious decisions about their interactions with others, and other daily encounters.  Teaching our kids how to be responsible and accountable at an early age, especially, could be the least of any parents' worries in their child's teenage and adult years.

To learn more about recent bullying findings, read my latest research, "Exploring the Meaning of School Bullying Among Parents of Victimized Children" at

Thank you, Funky Frugal Mommy, for being a part of my voice against bullying!

If you're a mother in need of great fun and healthy ideas for your family, go to and you'll be happy you stopped by!


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Stand for the Silent:


Popular posts from this blog

Copycat Boston Pizza's Bandera Bread

Have you ever had a craving for something but then once you looked at it you realized, I can make that myself for next to nothing? That's how I felt last night I thought about ordering in some food but then realized I really don't want to spend any money. I really wanted pizza bread from Boston Pizza. So I recreated it and oh my goodness was it ever good. Try some of these great recipes too!  Pizza Bread Dough 1 cup warm water 1 tsp instant yeast 1 tsp sugar 2 cups flour  Seasoning 1 tbsp melted butter 1 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp onion salt 1 tsp parsley 1 tsp rosemary 1 tsp basil 1 tsp oregano 1/2 tsp sugar 1. Combine the water, yeast, and 1 tsp of sugar in the mixing bowl and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt and mix until a ball of dough forms. Roll ball onto a floured counter top and knead for a couple minutes.  2. Put dough in an oiled bowl and let rise for 30 mins in a warm place with a clean cloth draped over top. While your doug

Affordable Ways To Make Your Home Look Luxurious

How do they do it? Professional designers seem to pull it off so effortlessly, but how will you make your home look more luxurious? You could just employ a professional or you can personally undertake the task of transforming your home into a place of luxury on a budget. In order to save money on your purchases, be creative and vigilant in your pursuit for the perfect style. Follow our budget-friendly ways for making your home a vision of luxury. Think it through, choose a style Luxury look isn’t enough to go on, so before you start shopping and wasting your money on furniture and decorations you might not even use in the end, first do some research. Go online and do some window shopping and find which style is more to your liking . An elegant Victorian style or something more modern and chic? Don’t get me wrong, you may want to mix and match, but before you commit by buying anything, consider what look you are going for. White is the color of elegance Choosing white as yo

DIY Table Revamp

I wanted to share a little DIY with you guys that involves duct tape! A few months ago my daughter's little chair that goes with her table she sits at every day tore and she made it worse by pulling all of the stuffing out of the seat! What started out as a quick fix turned into a great idea. She loved her seat so much that she has now decided that her table has look cool too so being the smarty pants that she is, she tore her table!