Contact school about bullying

I feel my son is being bullied at school. He does not enjoy going to school and says that kids at school are always mean to him. What should I do? —- Mother of a Bullied Child

If your child is truly being bullied, you need to inform the school and quickly get to the bottom of the situation. Bullying among children is aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength. A child who is being bullied has a hard time defending him- or herself. Bullying usually continues over time and can take many forms, such as hitting or punching (physical bullying); teasing or name-calling (verbal bullying); intimidation using gestures or social exclusion (nonverbal bullying or emotional bullying); and sending insulting messages by phone or computer e-mail (cyberbullying).

You are fortunate that your child has told you about the bullying, because children are often embarrassed, ashamed, frightened of the children who are bullying them or afraid of being seen as a "tattler." Listen carefully to what your son is telling you. Ask him to describe who was involved and how and where each bullying episode happens. Do not encourage physical retaliation as a solution. Hitting another student is not likely to end the problem, and it could get your child suspended or expelled.

Tell your son that bullying is wrong, that it's not his fault and that you are glad he had the courage to tell you about it. Ask your child what he thinks can be done to stop the bullying. Reading books on handling bullies could be helpful.

Do not contact the parents of the student(s) who bullied your child. Leave this in the hands of the school. When you are reporting the bullying to school officials, keep your emotions in check. Give factual information about your child's experiences of being bullied, including who, what, when, where and how.


My fourth-grader has made all A's since first grade. His standardized test scores show that he is very intelligent. His teachers feel he works very slowly, loses interest and is easily distracted. He misses recess at school a lot and has considerable homework most nights to catch up on his classwork. What can be done to get him on the right track at school? — Seeking a Solution

First of all, why your son is not completing his work definitely needs to be identified. Is he a slow writer, a perfectionist or simply bored with the work? Could an attention-deficit disorder be part of the problem, or is there some other explanation? Ask your child's school for an intervention to identify and offer ways to resolve this problem.

Eliminating recess and assigning a lot of homework are obviously not solutions to your son's problems with his schoolwork. They are not changing his behavior. Study carefully how he handles his homework, as this may give you input into resolving his problems. Also, it would be a good idea to ask him why he thinks that he is not completing his work in a timely fashion.

What To Read Next
Get Local