Everything You Need to Know to Talk to Your Kids About Bullying

Welcome to our guide to Back-to-School Success: 31 days of tips, apps, recipes, and more to help you make this your family's best school year yet. Today, day 22, will help you talk about bullying with your kids.


Recently, we proudly hosted a series of Stop Bullying Now Hangouts On Air with our friends at Google+ and an amazing panel of experts. If you were able to join us for any of the three live sessions, you've already picked up some tips on how to prevent bullying — both online and in person — for your kids. Here, we've gathered some of the most crucial talking points and resources that every parent should have at their disposal. To watch the most recent Hangout On Air about creating an anti-bullying toolkit in its entirety, click here.

Where to Start:

  • Connect With Your Child — Know what's going on at your child's school, who their friends are, and what they're doing after school. Have an open dialogue, and push meaningful conversation each and every day. It may be necessary to ask very specific, guided questions to ensure that this happens, but know that it's worth the extra effort.
  • Connect With Your Child's Educators — In addition to having an ongoing and open dialogue with your child, make sure that there's someone at their school who you have a relationship with and feel comfortable going to if you need to.

Keep in Mind All Elements of the Bullying Triad:

  • The Bully, the Victim, and the Bystander — Statistically speaking, your child is more likely to be the bully or a bystander than a victim. According to Dr. David Walsh of Mind Positive Parenting, most bullying happens with an audience. Bystanders have a very important role, and having a conversation about how kids treat one another is a good place to start. It also arms your child — should they find themselves in the bystander role — with the tools to act appropriately and report any misconduct that they've witnessed.
  • Kids Can Play Multiple Roles — According to recent research, the same child is likely to both be bullied, and bully other kids, Nathan Belyeu of The Trevor Project told us. They're also like to engage in and witness in bullying at school, then go home and be involved in cyberbullying in some capacity.

On Online Activity:

  • Educate Your Kids on the Importance of Digital Citizenship — Have an ongoing, open-ended conversation about how critical it is to be respectful online.
  • Know Their Social Circles (Both Digital and Actual) — Ensure that your child has a web of healthy relationships when it comes to friends at school and friends on the internet. Monitor their activity, and consider introducing them to a safe social space like TrevorSpace, which caters to members of the LGBTQ community, their friends, and allies between ages 13-24.
  • Be Aware of Your Kids' School's Policies — Educate yourself on what's being done at school, and allow yourself to serve as an extension of their services.

For More Information

If you're concerned about your child's involvement as a bully, victim, or bystander at school, in a social group, or online, check out some of our favorite resources on the topic: