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How to help a girl who is bullied

Family Problems

It can be very upsetting to think that a child is being bullied. Try to stay calm and focus on how you can help. Keep reading to learn ways you can show support and help solve the problem.

Signs of bullying arrow. top

Kids may have lots of reasons to keep quiet about being bullied. They may feel embarrassed, afraid, or even at fault. But if you suspect bullying, you can look for signs, such as the following:

  • Frequent headaches, stomachaches, or feeling sick
  • Having trouble sleeping or frequent bad dreams
  • Changes in eating habits or coming home hungry because of skipping lunch
  • Suddenly losing interest in friends
  • Not wanting to go to school or declining grades
  • Seeming sad, moody, angry, or anxious after school
  • Having damaged or missing items, like clothes or jewelry
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Talking about hurting herself or suicide

Girls may show several of these signs or just a few. If you suspect bullying, talk about it. Bullying can have serious physical and emotional effects.

Prevent suicide

If you fear that a child is thinking about suicide because of bullying, get help. You can contact the suicide prevention hotline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) for free 24 hours a day.

What to do if a girl is being bullied arrow. top

If a girl tells you she is being bullied, make sure she knows you really want to help. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Get the facts. Find out what has been happening and for how long. Start keeping a record of each incident, including the time and place. This can be helpful when working with a school.
  • Teach a girl ways to stand up to bullies. Practice what she can say if she's bullied. Look together at tips on dealing with bullying from girlshealth.gov.
  • Tell her to report bullying. She should go to a trusted adult right away when bullying happens. Emphasize that reporting is not wrong. Offer to contact her school for her.
  • Encourage her to find ways to make her life better. Suggest that she join a club or try to make new friends. Work on ways she can feel confident and strong.
  • Offer emotional support. Make sure she knows being bullied is not her fault. Praise her for being brave enough to speak up. Tell her about your experiences if you ever were bullied.
  • Reach out for help. Your school's guidance counselor or nurse may be able to help a child deal with the stress of being bullied. You can also find mental health services near you, sometimes at a reduced cost. You can also find centers that offer services if you don't have insurance. (And you can learn about getting insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace.)

You can learn more about how to help a bullied child — including what not to do — from stopbullying.gov.

Working with a child's school arrow. top

If your girl is being bullied, don't be afraid to contact her school. Bullying may not stop without the school's help. Here are some steps you can take.

  • Contact the school. Set up an appointment with your child's teacher or with the school's counselor. When you meet, bring any notes you have about the bullying incidents.
  • Follow up. It can take time for bullying to stop. Check in regularly with school staff.
  • Don't give up. If you feel like your child's teacher has not been able to help, you can contact the school's principal or even the school district's superintendent. If those options don't work, you can contact your state's department of schools.
  • Know your child's rights. Many states have laws against bullying. Also, federal law protects children who are bullied because of their race, color, national origin, sex, religion, or disability. You can contact the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights if you think a child is being bullied because of any of these and your school is not working to stop the bullying.

 

Content last reviewed April 15, 2014
Page last updated August 27, 2014

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