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Every 7 minutes a child is bullied.

Bullying for Parents

How Parents Can Recognize and Help Prevent Bullying

Bullying is a distinctive pattern of harming and humiliating others, specifically those who are in some way smaller, weaker, younger or in any way more vulnerable than the bully. 


Bullying is not garden-variety aggression; it is a deliberate and repeated attempt to cause harm to others of lesser power. It's a very durable behavioral style, largely because bullies get what they want—at least at first. Bullies are made, not born, and it happens at an early age, if the normal aggression of 2-year-olds isn't handled with consistency.

Between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 students in the United States reports being bullied at school, according to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics. In grades 6 through 12 alone, over a quarter of students have experienced bullying. 


Electronic or cyberbullying has become a significant problem in the past decade. The ubiquity of hand-held and other devices affords bullies constant access to their prey, and harassment can often be carried out anonymously.

What is Bullying?

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

What is Bullying?

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

  • An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.

  • Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

Common Types of Bullying

Hover over each square to view examples of each type of bullying.

Verbal Bullying
Saying or writing mean and hurtful things to gain power over another person.
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  • Teasing

  • Name-calling

  • Inappropriate sexual comments

  • Taunting

  • Threatening to cause harm

​Verbal bullying includes...

Physical Bullying
Hurting a person’s body or possessions to exert power over another person.
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  • Hitting/kicking/pinching

  • Spitting

  • Tripping/pushing

  • Taking or breaking someone’s things

  • Making mean or rude hand gestures

​Physical bullying includes...

Social bullying
Sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships.

  • Leaving someone out on purpose

  • Telling other children not to be friends with someone

  • Spreading rumors about someone

  • Embarrassing someone in public

​Social bullying includes...

Digital bullying that includes sharing personal or private information about someone else causing harm, embarrassment or humiliation.

  • Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter

  • SMS (Short Message Service) also known as Text Message sent through devices

  • Instant Message (via devices, email provider services, apps, and social media messaging features)

​Cyberbullying includes...

Common Types of Bullying
Wehn Child is Bein Bullied

How to Recognize When Your Child is Being Bullied.

There are many warning signs that may indicate that someone is affected by bullying—either being bullied or bullying others. Recognizing the warning signs is an important first step in taking action against bullying. Not all children who are bullied or are bullying others ask for help.

It is important to talk with children who show signs of being bullied or bullying others. These warning signs can also point to other issues or problems, such as depression or substance abuse. Talking to the child can help identify the root of the problem.

Signs Your Child Is Being Bullied


Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.

Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are: 

  • Unexplainable injuries

  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry

  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness

  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.

  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares

  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school

  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations

  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem

  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide

If you know someone in serious distress or danger, don’t ignore the problem. Get help right away.

Steps to Take:

  1. Talk to your child or get a trusted family member or friend to ask them about what's going on.

  2. Contact the teacher and school administrators to request an emergency meeting and a bullying prevention plan be put in place.

  3. It is always best to seek psychological therapy to help your child navigate positive coping skills.

  4. If bullying was taking place in the classroom, check in regularly or request your child be moved to another class.

  5. Be your child's eyes and ears by staying vigilant and aware of any additional changes in behavior.

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When Child is the Bully

Recognizing When Your Child is The Bully.

Kids may be bullying others if they:   

  • Get into physical or verbal fights

  • Have friends who bully others

  • Are increasingly aggressive

  • Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently

  • Have unexplained extra money or new belongings

  • Blame others for their problems

  • Don’t accept responsibility for their actions

  • Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity

Steps to Take:

  1. Talk to your child or get a trusted family member or friend to ask them about what's going on.

  2. Contact the teacher and school administrators to ask about any bullying behavior present.

  3. It is always best to seek psychological therapy to help your child change their behavior and to get to the root cause of their aggression.

  4. Follow-up with school staff to see if bullying behavior has improved with intervention.

  5. Stay vigilant and aware of any additional changes in behavior.


Resources for Parents

You’re not in this alone. Here’s some resources to help.

  • National Bullying Prevention Center
    Founded in 2006, PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center actively leads social change to prevent childhood bullying, so that all youth are safe and supported in their schools, communities and online. PACER provides innovative resources for students, parents, educators, and others, and recognizes bullying as a serious community issue that impacts education, physical and emotional health, and the safety and well-being of students.
  • provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.
  • American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
    The mission of AACAP is to promote the healthy development of children, adolescents, and families through advocacy, education, and research, and to meet the professional needs of child and adolescent psychiatrists throughout their careers.
  • Educational Resources
    Edutopia is dedicated to transforming K-12 education so that all students can acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to thrive in their studies, careers, and adult lives. Founded by innovative and award-winning filmmaker George Lucas in 1991, we take a strategic approach to improving K-12 education through two distinct areas of focus: Edutopia and Lucas Education Research.
  • Ohio Department of Education
    Parents can take many important steps to help prevent and address bullying, intimidation or harassment among students at their children’s schools.
  • Ohio Suicide Prevention
    The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation is an Ohio 501c3 not-for-profit organization that works to bring about changes in attitudes and perceptions surrounding suicide and its relationship to mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse, and other issues. We believe suicide is a preventable public health issue, and act as a catalyst for and steward of suicide prevention activities across the state.
  • Cincinnati Youth Council for Suicide Prevention
    Cincinnati Youth Council for Suicide Preventiondedicated to making a positive change in how youth handle challenges they face, encouraging and empowering youth to make meaningful connections with others, and breaking the stigma around suicide.
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