When your child is being bullied

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When your child is being bullied

If your child is being bullied, one, you should take it very seriously. Two, if it comes to your attention and your child tells you, then you should follow through; call the school, find out exactly what is happening, how long it's been going on. It's very important to keep records when you call the school. Sometimes your school may be unresponsive and it's very important to keep any records of phone calls or meetings at the school. You must really be proactive in taking care of your child. Often your child comes to you when the victimization has gone on for a really long time. It is very, very important to get your child in to see a therapist to talk through the victimization. This is important because as children are victimized within the context of school, they are at risk for subsequent victimization in relationships as they grow older because they almost take on the, "I am worthy of this victimization. It's my fault in some way." If your child is also being victimized, one other option is to get them involved in some extracurricular activities that build competence. It could be Tae Kwon Do or some type of sporting events to build competence to repair some of the damage that has been done because of the victimization. It's very, very important for parents to be proactive. Remember, the ultimate goal is the safety of your child. Do not wait around for others to take care of your child. It's your role.

View Dorothy Espelage's video on When your child is being bullied...


Expert Bio

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Dorothy Espelage

Professor of Child Development

Dorothy L. Espelage, PhD, is a Professor of Child Development in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She is a University Scholar and has fellow status in Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) of the American Psychological Association.  She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University in 1997. She has conducted research on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, and dating violence for the last 18 years. As a result, she presents regularly at regional, national, and international conferences and is author on over 90 professional publications.  She is co-editor of four published books including Bullying in North American Schools: A Social-Ecological Perspective on Prevention and Intervention and International Handbook of Bullying published by Routledge. She is Associate Editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology. She has presented thousands of workshops and in-service training seminars for teachers, administrators, counselors, and social workers across the U.S.  Her research focuses on translating empirical findings into prevention and intervention programming.  She is currently funded by the CDC for a randomized clinical trial of a bullying prevention program in 36 middle schools. She authored a 2011 White House Brief on bullying among LGBTQ youth and attended the White House Conference in 2011. She is also funded by National Science Foundation to develop better methods to assess bullying among adolescents and CDC and NIJ are funding a longitudinal study of predictors of bullying and dating violence among adolescents. Dr. Espelage has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; CNN; CBS Evening News; The Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson, Anderson 360 and has been quoted in the national print press, including Time Magazine, USA Today, People, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal. Her dedicated team of undergraduate and graduate students are committed to the dissemination of the research through various mechanisms.

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