How to Recognize Bullying and Help Your Child

By Damon Rennaker

I really hate bullying. I hated it as a kid and now I hate it even more as a dad. As parents, we want to do everything we can to keep our children from going through the same thing. Maybe this is already a problem for your child.

If it seems like something is going on at school, or your child seems more closed off than usual, they could be experiencing bullying. Bullying is a common problem no matter where our children go. This article aims to offer some signs to look for and suggestions to help your child strengthen themselves so they can learn to stand up for themselves and others. 

“Bullying is an intentional, aggressive and repeated behavior that involves an imbalance of power or strength” (Stomp Out Bullying). There are many forms of bullying: verbal, physical, sexual, emotional, and online, which is known as cyberbullying. In the many forms that this harassment can take, finding a way to talk about bullying with your child can be a difficult conversation, especially if your child is already a victim. First, consider these signs to determine whether your child may be experiencing the harmful effects of bullying or not. 

Some warning signs:

  • Has unexplained injuries
  • Appears anxious 
  • Has low self-esteem 
  • Afraid of going to school 
  • Only has a few friends 
  • Appears sad or teary when they get home
  • Sudden or unexplained drop in grades 

If your child is being bullied, don’t talk about it directly. Consider using a statement or question to draw out the issue, instead of forcing an interrogation.

I hear that bullying is a big problem at school.

Are you still hanging out with your friends?

Is there someone that you spend more of your time with? 

These questions and statements can begin a conversation and demonstrate to your child that you are curious as to what is going on in their life. Rather than interrogating your child for information, consider trying to listen to what they are going through and encourage them to find help and support. 

Here are a couple of tips to help you: 

  1. Educate your child on ways they can learn to stand up for themselves 

As children learn to stand up for themselves, they can begin to look at their feelings as a priority. When their feelings and beliefs are their priority, what others say and do has less of an influence on how they feel. By learning to stand up for themselves, they may soon begin to recognize the power they have to defend themselves. This power could come to be known as a strength rather than a previous position of weakness as a victim of bullying. 

  • Your child can gain confidence in themselves by being around individuals who respect them and their boundaries.
  • Encourage your child to stay connected to combat the loneliness and low self-esteem produced by bullying.
  • Have daily conversations about bullying with your child. 
  • Inspire your kids to do what they love.
  • Be an example to them of kindness and respect. 
  1. Teach them to do what they love and be proud of it 

Once your child understands the importance of standing up for themselves, teach them to love and be proud of the things they enjoy. Bullying could lead your child to hide the things about themselves that they love and make them who they are. When self-confidence replaces the feelings of fear that can be produced by bullying, your child can remember, in the face of cruelty, that they are who they are and that could be their strength. 

  1. Teach them to stand up for others 

Now that your child has developed a sense of their value and importance, it is also important that they can learn to recognize moments in which others are being mistreated or talked about unfairly. Telling others “That’s not a very nice thing to say” when something hurtful is said can make a difference in the lives of others as well. Often it’s the same support and love that we’d hope to receive.

Watching your child’s behavior and being willing to intervene with love and support can make all the difference in your child’s life. With your support, they can grow stronger through daily self-love and self-belief practices developed with the tips mentioned above. 

Check out our book 30 Days to a Stronger Child, as well as a plethora of lessons that have to do with developing a stronger child in our articles, books, and lessons. All these resources offer discussion topics, lessons, and ideas to help you connect with your child.

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Damon Rennaker is currently pursuing a degree in English from Brigham Young University—Idaho. He is using his degree to explain the human experience to better connect across cultures and ideas. He resides in Idaho with his wife and young son spending time in the backyard with his chickens as well as pursuing a plethora of creative work in writing, music, and visual arts. 


Stomp Out Bullying. (n.d.). Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied – Tip Sheet. End the Hate. Change

the Culture. Retrieved September 26, 2022, from 

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