Britannica for Parents: How to Prevent Bullying for Your Child

Note from Carrie: This was the first in a two-part series for Encyclopedia Britannica’s Parenting vertical. The piece is about preventing bullying relationships in kids.

By Carrie Goldman

Sylvia Moore’s seven-year-old son, Ryan, is attending a local public school that is operating a hybrid model due to the pandemic.

At the moment, Sylvia’s biggest fear isn’t about the pace of Ryan’s academic growth or his access to physical activity—she lies awake at night worrying how Ryan is doing socially. A shy, small boy, he relied heavily last year on the constant companionship of one good friend, Victor. This year, Victor is attending a different school.

“Without Victor at his side, I’m afraid that Ryan will become a target of bullying,” Sylvia told me.

She is not alone. Parents worry about bullying—regardless of the age of the child—as one of their top health concerns. With approximately one out of every five children being bullied, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, it is an understandable anxiety.

For parents who struggle with social anxiety—or were targets of bullying themselves—it can be even harder to accurately assess painful social situations involving their children. “I was bullied when I was younger,” Sylvia said. “I am easily triggered in this area.”

What Is Bullying?

Social pain is very subjective—one child may easily move past the taunting of peers, while another child might feel devastated by the same behaviors. This is why researchers have developed a common language for defining bullying.

Read the rest of the article on Britannica For Parents: