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Teen Bullies

No parent wants their child to suffer at the hands of a bully. However, as kids get older, they become more self-reliant and parents may feel as if their teens don't welcome their help. Just because your teen or tween doesn't respond to you in the way that she did when she was younger doesn't mean that she doesn't still need your support to stand up against cruel behavior.

Parenting Tips for Responding to Bullies:

Making a Difference At this point in their development, most kids have become accustomed to the social atmosphere of school and have found their own place in the social structure. Teen or tween bullies may be acting out due to deeply-rooted issues, such as feelings of isolation, depression, or a lack of self-esteem. Bullying at this age often involves humiliating others. For example: Brenda is an "A" student who enjoys reading and excels at her schoolwork. Donna, who doesn't get very good grades and struggles to keep up with her classes calls Brenda "Teacher's Pet," "Nerd," and "Bookworm," all names that are embarrassing and meant to hurt Brenda's feelings. Donna's verbal abuse makes Brenda not only uncomfortable but makes her feel alienated from the popular kids that Donna hangs out with.

What to do about Bullying? Brenda's parents, upon learning that she is being bullied, should immediately call the school. Because this age group changes classes often, the parents may want to go right to the administration, which will consult with individual teachers as necessary. The school can also help Brenda's parents contact Donna's parents, who may not be aware of their daughter's inappropriate behavior. At this age, Donna should definitely know right from wrong and should be clearly aware of what is and is not acceptable behavior. For this reason, her parents should discipline her accordingly and continue to implement disciplinary action until she behaves appropriately.

Being There While teens and tweens may often be difficult to understand, it's important for your child to know that you are always available. Being there for your child will help her open up about bullying, allowing you to help put an end to her pain and humiliation as soon as possible.