Anti-Bullying Action Steps for Parents

Recent research on bullying and resilience says that “warm family relationships and positive home environments help to buffer children from the negative outcomes associated with bullying victimization.” 1

It’s true. Parents create the foundation from which resilience is built, and they are integral to the development of children. As parents, we are the first role models for our children, and we influence them with every move, every word, and every look. While this can seem overwhelming, intentional parenting is imperative to raising resilient, healthy, and well-adjusted kids and future adults. With this in mind, we developed the following action steps for parents. These steps are based on Developmental Assets research, the qualities and external factors that we know kids need to be successful.

  • Be a Good Role Model – No parent is perfect, but it’s important for every parent to recognize and remember that your kids are always watching you! Be sure that you behave in ways that you would like to see replicated.
  • Create a Supportive Family Environment – All families are different, so there is no cookie-cutter approach to this action step. Your family’s culture is defined by all members of your family. In a supportive family culture, parents to frequently interact with their children. Get to know your kids, find out what they love, and then support those passions.
  • Engage in Positive Family Communication – Communication seems to be the hardest thing for all of us to do. With our children, we need to be sure that what we say is what we mean, and that they do not have to read into situations. How we teach them to communicate in our homes will then carry over into how they communicate at school and with their friends. In the same way, the ways that they communicate with their friends may seep into their communications with us. It’s a parents job to ensure that their communication remains positive! Finally, listen to what your child is saying. Sometimes the things that they don’t say are even more important than the things they do say. Be sure to clue in if your child seems to feel unsafe in a situation and pursue that in conversation.

Get tips for active listening >>

  • Be Involved in Your Child’s Schooling – Research shows that children are more successful when parents are involved in their school. Attend school conferences, know your child’s teacher, and volunteer in any way that you can. If you make an effort to establish a relationship with your child’s teacher or school administrator, it will also be a huge help if the need arises for you to have a hard discussion.
  • Encourage School and Community Involvement – The more involved that kids are with others and with organizations, the better off they are, whether it’s at church or at your local community center. Encourage inter-generational events whenever possible. Whatever they do, support their involvement in healthy activities because it will continue to make them healthier in the long run.
  • Provide Clear Boundaries and Safety – Children need clear guidelines to follow as they grow up, and they need to feel safe. Parents need to set clear boundaries for behavior and should have high expectations in terms of respect for self, others, and property.
  • Have High Expectations for Academics and Behavior – Not every students is a straight A student, but having high expectations that kids do their best on every project, worksheet, or test is important. Kids should do their best, and they should seek out learning. Kids will raise their own expectations to meet ours as parents, so we should aim high in academics and behavior.
  • Promote Positive Values- Children do not naturally look out for others or show restraint; we need to teach them these qualities. While helping our children become caring, honest, responsible, and self-controlled beings is difficult, these are some of the qualities that will make them the healthiest as teens and adults. Watch for experiences when you can teach and promote these values – it will benefit them in the long run!
  • Help Kids Dream about Their Futures – One of the first things that we ask little kids is, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” And the question is asked over and over again. When your kids answer with big dreams, support them! Network with people in those fields through community, school, and religious organizations, and help them to seek out ways to make those dreams possible. As they grow older, encourage them to take classes in school that will keep their options open. Assist them in pursuing those big dreams by believing in them!

Download these tips (PDF).

Learn More: Download ParentFurther’s 9 Parenting Strategies for being a great parent >


Bowes, L., Maughan, B., Caspi, A., Moffitt, T. E., & Arseneault, L. (2010). Families promote emotional and behavioural resilience to bullying: Evidence of an environmental effect. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 51 (7), 809–817.



The first suggestion to travel in groups is unrealistic. Usually those who are bullied are kids without friends. That’s why they’re easy prey.

I agree with anonymous. I have a very close relative that has been bullied. I want to educate myself as much as possible to help them. I think this is one of the most horrendous things to endure as a young teen.

I have a granddaughter that has been bullied, they took her out of school (8th grade) and now is home schooled. They reported it to the school, police, and township. Nothing!!!. The law about bulling is to scare and stop the kids from bulling. This is how I see it: It scared the school board, the teachers, the township office, the police, at least in the town that she lives in (the east side of Pa.) The answers the parents got, No not here, was there any wittiness (by the way there was, and they are to scared to say anything), there is nothing we can do. These people in office don’t want any trouble, no reports of trouble in the school, so the law to protect, was for the people in office not the kids!! My granddaughter loves to play basketball, she had to quit, she got great grades and had to quit, all because a pack of girls threading to beat the sh__ out of her, the threat was not once but several times, and my granddaughter was scared, ( she is not the type to be scared of things, BUT this, what kind of message does this send her. The school, township, police are here NOT to help!! And for me, what has happen to the offices that are to help, look into things, I know that they know that these girls are bad, but it is a lot easier to just to save their BUTTS, instead of the kids. So what would you do? What office in Pa. will and I repeat WILL help, I getting to have little faith in our government. Sign Grandpa

I have a 16 year old niece, who has being bullied for at least a month now. She came home and informed me, and I informed her to let the teachers, principals and school officers know. And she infact informed them numerous times before letting me know and afterwards. Still nothing was done. I told my niece to try and ignore her as often as possible. But I told my niece, that if the bully EVER put her hands on her, she better turn around and inflict as much pain as she could. The bully and her sister, after weeks on top of weeks of calling my niece all kinds of b-tches and h-es, and threatening to beat her m’f’ a** after school, they finally decided to try and jump my niece. They both are 2x’s bigger than my niece in weight. Now, keep in mind that the older bully, had just returned to school this very same day, from being suspended for trying to fight another student, who is a male. Though, he is 2x’s shorter and about 1/2 her weight. Clearly she’s using her size and weight to enable bullying. But, once my niece was hit in the face, by the first bully, she did exactly as I taught her, which is to defend yourself with an undescribeable force of strength. She was getting the best of the oldest bully, so her sister jumped in. My niece kicked her so hard out of fear and hurt, the sister went flying into the lockers, and at that point the young man that was also a victim of this girls bullying, came in to break up the fight, while the teachers stood and watched in awe.Do you kow, that my niece, the VICTIM, was handed down the same punishment as the bully? 5 days suspension and $130 ticket?! This was my nieces first time in trouble. The bully is a arbitual offender. She had just came back to school that same day from suspension. Where’s the justice? Why was my niece punishment so rough and harsh? The bully should be expelled, fined and do community service or something of that nature. I don’t beieve my niece should have been punished at all for simply defending herself!

Hi “Anonymous” (and all parents, grandparents, extended family members, and caregivers who have expressed concern here):

We (the ParentFurther team) want to address some of the comments that are being posted here in regard to bullying, particularly to the grandfather who posted his specific issue.

Bullying is a serious issue that requires ALL caring adults (parents, school staff, extended family members, community members, etc.) to contribute to the solution. The adults need to remove shaming and blaming discipline techniques and really learn the skills to help our young people’s journey through their tween/teen years. There is a wealth of resources that can help!

For our grandparent reader in Pennsylvania – here are some resources we would like to point you to: The Center for Safe Schools has a great Bullying Prevention Tool Kit that can be shared. We encourage you to share it with teachers, neighbors, and caring community members.

The Ophelia Project is also a wonderful resource. They have school programs that include parents and mentoring by older teens – “CASS: Creating a Safe School™ empowers older students as trained mentors to their younger classmates and model positive social interaction and courageous intervention.”

There are also resources available regarding your state’s Anti-Bulling Laws. Visit Bullying Policy USA to learn more about your state’s laws.

We hope these resources help! Thank you for your passion to make things better, commitment to doing something, and willingness to share your story. All adults can take a cue from you.

Dear Anonymous,
I am so sorry that your niece had to go through the pain she has endured at the hands of the bully and the school district. I am a social worker in Illinois and teach anti-bullying classes in my district pre-school through eighth grade(I’m not in the high school). Your niece’s parents should contact the school board and ask to be put on the agenda to present their case at the next board meeting. Then do your research about school bullying. Make sure that the board members understand the cost to our youth by ignoring bullying, how would they act if this was their child?. Explain to them that the English language has a new term, “bullycide” due to our youth committing suicide as a direct result of being bullied. Any school that claims to not have bullying is in denial, ignorant of their environment or just lying to protect themselves. We must be pro-active when the school personel refuse to help our children. Getting back to the Board, insist that they explain to the community why this decision was made, and why your niece was basically “forced” to defend herself, why school personel did not attempt to intervene and why a known violent student is repeatedly allowed back in the school. Make sure that you document each contact, no matter how brief, that you have with school personel about the bullying issue. Make sure that you document the date, time, person spoke to and a synopsis of the meeting. If they say that they have had no contact with you regarding this, you can pull out your documentation. It just speaks to credibility. It would also be beneficial if you could get other victim’s parents to attend/support you as well. I hope that this helps. Tell your niece that she is in my prayers and that many of us are fighting/instructing to make sure that bullying is dealt with in our schools with the severity and immediacy that it should be. Oh, in regard to your granddaughter, in Illinois and Missouri home-schooled students can still participate in atheletics in their home districts. You may check this out with the State Board of Education, as it seems that the local individuals are of little assistance. ou may also speak with them regarding her situation. Make sure that you don’t lose your temper as this seems to hamper them really listening to you. Make sure that you have all of your facts in front of you so you don’t forget something important. Good Luck! I hope that this helps in some small way. Make sure that your niece is speaking to someone, a parent, other adult that will listen/support her, or counselor in dealing with her feelings about the situation and in dealing with continued contact with the bully and her sister. Watch for changes in behavior and make sure that every night she talks, even briefly about her school day. You don’t want her to believe that she is alone and that life is hopeless. If she has a teacher that she trusts, have her use that teacher as a resource to go to. If the school has a counselor or social worker, have her talk with them if she is comfortable. Having someone to support her at school, that she can go to immediately could be most beneficial, and keep reporting each incident of bullying. If she feels unable to reort the bullying herself, do it for her, and document it. I’m sorry that this was so long. I am very passionate about stopping bullying in our schools and healing our children. Mikesmaw

Hello all,
I am currently working on a project to educate students in class for the purpose of bullying prevention. I am also thinking about a coursework for teachers. If you have any ideas about reliable / academic resources, please, do post them. Thanks

don be afrid let bullys know who theey r messin with


I think bullying is horrible and it always spreads around either in school, home,etc….. The best thing to do is tell an adult or anybody that you know.

I don’t know where to begin…............I used to teach school in the ’80’s. I feel that the teachers must have MANDATORY coursework on this topic and be backed by the school district when they need to take appropriate action WHEN/not if bullying happens. This is such a heartwrenching situation. Girls Scout moto “be prepared” still applies for us all.

My daughter has been bullied off and on by several girls at her school through the years.They tell her she is weird,no one like you,and pushes her around on occasion.She is in 4th grade.My daughter is very vivacious and confident;however,I can see it is breaking her soul.This morning she expressed to me that the girl sitting next to her told her she is weird and everyone is spreading rumors around the school about it.Fortunately,the girl sitting next to her witnessed the bully and stood up to her and stated otherwise.My daughter does not want to tell the teacher because she feel it is tattling and the girls will only deny.I always try to approach these situations with compassion and not blaming.I have told her to stay away,they are wanting power over her and if she lets them know it bothers her they will only continue.She has dealt well with it up to this point,but now she does not want to go to school and is a wonderful student with goals.I talked with the school and hope something will become of it,but after reading similar posts I am quite perplexed to what I should do at this point.

Hi i have a question ? I was alluis bullying in school they miss treded mi and i suffer to much but i stop them.. i was bullying for 6 years at school. i tread to live bijaind mi but i got mearrid his family trided me so bad that they were bullying me. so know u am so mine to people can that be of my childhood was bullying me.. affect my life. sarry for miss spelling.

I have searched for some time about bulling of the very young. My grandson, who lives with me is 5 years old. Six months ago we moved into a new neighborhood. There are 10 other kids in our court. My grandson is the youngest. The others are 6 to 12 with seven boys. My very happy, outgoing little sunshine is losing his brightness so fast. He has been picked on, called names, chased and beaten up constantly. He can be in our yard and the kids just watch for me to run in the house or go into the garage and the start on him. I have confronted 3 parents with the oldest and worst kids. One denied it was hppening. One said she would stop it, (she hasn’t, it just made the kids worse). The last went ballistic and said his wonderful kid would never do such a thing, and hasn’t spoken to us in 3 months. His son is the ring leader. My little guy will rarely go outside anymore, unless it is just the 3 girls out playing, who will play with him. I see alot about preteen and teen, but can’t find much for 5 yearolds who are bullied in the neighborhood and not at kindergarden. I can see this wonderful little guy closing up. I work on this every day, but I don’t seem to be able to stop it or know what else to do. Please guide me to some resources for thiis younger guy. Thank you

We as a family have been dealing with our 12 year old son, getting bullied. He has gotten bullied for years now. To the point that we got the police involved. All we got told is, that the bully was under the age of 12. This bully had a history of being violent. He is an amazing child, with respect, love, and compassion. Never once has he hurt another child. All of those things like, spend time with your, kids, communicate with your kids, and show them how to treat ppl. We do. That is y our son tells us everything. However, the government, the law, and the schools. Don’t do ENOUGH. To help us protect our kids from bullies. I 100% agree that we are our children’s role model. My point is kids shouldn’t have to deal with bulling at all. Y are we always finding resources for the bullied kids. Which I agree is needed for the victims emotional and physical well being. Where is the punishment for the offender. If it was an adult assaulting someone. That is jail time. This kids needs to be made accountable. Not by a slap on the wrist.

About a week ago I had an situation with my daughter being bullied by the bus driver but because there was no camera the bus driver got away with it!!!! No one will do anything about it because its an adults word against a 6yr old

***Does anyone else think that cameras on school buses should be a must??? So many different types of bullying are going on and nobody can see it. With cameras being on every school bus it would be more way to stand against kids being bullied! Please if anyone has any advice on how I can make this happen or just to show your suppport please email me at

When is it time to go to the police to make a report? I know of a case where the school officials have said the police will not do anything at this point. Is that true? I am frightened for my grandchildren.

Supposedly a threat to shoot grand daughter and friends was deleted. this seems to me to be a reportable behavior whether or not it was deleted. Advice appreciated…...


thank u 4 that info

hiya my daughter is 5 years old she is very polite and good at home and friends but at school she is been classed as a bully for hitting other children all punishments at school do not work she dont mind being on her own as she is a only child , i am changing her diet to eliminate alot of e numbers as she very hypo which takes time ,i really dont know what to do ive sat and talked to her talked to school they speak about her like shes a monster saying i need to sort her out coz they getting intouch with health visitor and she may possible go into care

how nice

Bullying should be an offense that gets the culprit suspended immediately and the parents of said culprit interviewed by the school board and warned if this bully is not disciplined there will be further consequences for example no more schooling until the situation is resolved.

Anonymous Sat, 2013-11-23 04:20
First of all, our society have taken such a change over the past thirty or more years when it comes to the family, especially our children. Accountabillity and responsiblity in so many homes are out the window and many children are made to live like adults instead of chidren. It’s not easy raising yourself as a child. Moms are out of the home during their own thing. Many babies don’t get breast milk anymore so the bond is lost sometines at an early age. Babies are are put in child care centers/daycare centers instead of being home with Mom. The money mothers sometime put out in a months time for childcare, gas, food etc. they would probably come out better at home with little boy or girl. I’m sure the children would appreciate it. It our society for some reason we think we half to have the finest or best of everything even at the cost of our children. Children don’t know about half the stuff we work so hard for and is of little inmportance if there is no real love shown to them when they need it most, in the early years of their little lives. I raised happily six children and stayed at home to do it. It was my husband and my responsiblity to be accounable for our actions. Afterall, the children didn’t ask to come here. It was our love for each other that got them here. Whether bullying, fighting or arguements, it’s important to have the closeness of Family to support one another. Children half to have parents they can go to before it’s to late. Some parents push there children away and some children don’t have the relationship they should have with their parents. Have you seen the brokenness of the families these days? Husbands and wives switch up and families are so mixed up, it’s a wonder children can function at all in the light of who they are” children’ not adults. A lot of times they are left to take care of themselves being able to watch unapproxiate things on TV, have the run of the house. Sexual assualt on children by adults not children are horrible. They let themselves in and let themselves out. They are called latch key children. This is not what God meant for His creation.The Word of God “the Bible” teaches us the right way to live and if we choose to live contrary to it, according to the Bible things will get a lot worse before they get better. What comes after bullying? Will we start locking up our 5 & 6 year olds, also?

My grandaughter was bullied for three month since inroled in sycamore middle school in gridlely califorina they done nothing she tryed to tell the coah in p.e he said the girl did mean it fist was a boy she told next this little name jefffer she? O people like teacher but little had little friend to push her down and they clean but her up but did nothig on wendsay I blive she said she ooat her up and she and her boyfried and friend folled her around harrster w ith cell phone my daughter told she did won’t to fight but they keep pushing her so she pushed her back but they never ask anybody but girl boyfriend two days for phone were he vidot tape were they jump my granddaughter they errased what want prinsaple to see what they want he said my granddaughter first but the boy he qution said he kck cause he thought she was a boy they do nothing about seeing he said he done he saw what he want to. To find boy is a foot ball player he get a way with we new nobody care I had to take. Her to hospital her leg was already no good to they ignor my doctor note still had her running onher bad leg she is a good kid now she not showing intersd in school I tell to go tell. If nothing will happen she keep getting bulled

Hi, My Grandson has had a very difficult 6 years. he lived in a domestic violence home and was taken away from his mother. His mother went on to have 2 more sons and 9 months ago they were taken away also. the younger ones are from a different man. this year at school has been very tramatic for him. there is this one kid that picks on him repeatedly almost daily. He goes to a private school of maybe 50 students. The principal and teachers are my friends and family and also we go to church with these people. this boy verbal abuses my grandson all the time and when he goes to tell someone it is always the same go sit down or I don’t care. I have been to the principal 8 times already and to my pastor who over sees the school. well about 2 months ago it became physical and this boy punched my grandson twice and left bruises on his leg. I don’t condone violence but I finally had to tell my grandson if he hits you again hit him back. My grandson is 8 yrs old and looks like he is 11. He is a very large kid. All his teachers say the same thing that he is a pleasure to have in class. he gets A’s and B’s. but now he feels that know one believes or cares what this kid is doing so he is getting depressed, starting to hate school and I just don’t know what to do. He goes to counseling every other week so I am going to start talking to her. but what about him coming home depressed and crying. Know one seems to care at school.

An important life lesson and teachable moment for all students (by way of their teachers, who have them for about 7 hours a day), is the reality that many students who are being bullied at school, or on the way to and from, may often be getting their fair share of pain by way of abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, neglect, or a combination thereof) at home from their own family members, or relatives etc.
It would be nice if teachers put this in perspective for bullies and actually taught all the students that there is more than enough pain to go around, in this valley of tears, without anybody adding to it.

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