Miss the warning signs. Most teens will not tell their parents that they are being bullied either out of embarrassment, or because they fear your involvement will make the bullying worse. So that means that you, as the parent, must be vigilant and watchful for the subtle signs that your child is being bullied. Examples are:
vague complaints of pain, such as frequent stomachaches or headaches, not wanting to go to school, or mentioning there is a lot of “drama” at school or that other kids “mess” with them.
Overreact. Parents automatically feel hurt when their child is hurt. Although it is natural to get emotional and/or angry, acting on those emotions will only result in mistakes. Many parents jump to their teen’s defense without finding out all the facts. Some parents immediately call the school, the teacher, the coach or the principal without giving their child a chance to navigate the situation. Parents should first collect information about what is occurring and then talk through possible solutions with their teen. It is quite possible that when you discover the facts, your child is actually just dealing with normal conflict. There is a difference between unkind behavior and bullying. For something to constitute bullying, there must be 3 elements present: a power imbalance, an intent to harm your child, and repeated incidents. Until all the facts are in, don’t simply assume your child is blameless either. It is normal for children to fudge the truth with their parents to avoid getting into trouble. If you do determine that it is bullying, take a deep breath and put together a logical plan of action.