Bullying Basics: How to Help Your Grandchild

By Lindsay Hornell, BSW, B.A.,
Graduate Research Assistant in Human Development Family Studies, Colorado State University

Recently, bullying has become an all too common occurrence with school-aged children. On any given day, as many as 160,000 students stay home because they are afraid of being bullied (Bullying Statistics, 2009). With bullying becoming such a problem, it is important to learn more about bullying and what to do if your grandchild is being bullied.

Growing up, most children will get teased by a brother, sister, or friend. Bullying, however, goes beyond teasing and can include hitting, shoving, name-calling, making threats, or taking personal belongings (Lyness, 2010). If your grandchild is being bullied, something as simple as standing in the lunch line can become a scary thing.

It is important to recognize the signs when someone is being bullied. Signs your grandchild is a victim of bullying may include:

  • Acting anxious (example: crying, worrying, etc.)
  • Not eating
  • Not sleeping well
  • Getting upset easily
  • Avoiding certain things they used to do (example: taking the bus) (Lyness, 2010)

If you think that your grandchild is being bullied, it is important to talk to him or her as soon as you can. It may feel awkward to bring it up, but it could help your grandchild from having lasting emotional scars from bullying. Some strategies include being somewhat indirect with your questions. For example, if you're watching TV and kids being bullied comes up, ask questions like "what do you think about that?" or "has anything like that ever happened to you?" (Lyness, 2010).

Your grandchild might be embarrassed or feel guilty, so it is important to make sure he or she knows that things will get better by talking about it. Make sure to be supportive and believe what he or she is telling you. Once you know bullying is occurring, try to get as much information as possible about where the bullying is taking place and who is the bully. Then, you should contact your grandchild's teacher, school counselor, or principle to discuss what is going on with your grandchild.

The state of Colorado takes bullying very seriously. In 2011, bullying in schools actually became illegal, so do not hesitate to talk to your grandchild's school. If you have more questions about Colorado Laws on bullying please visit: http://www.cde.state.co.us/pbis/Bullying/index.htm

Additional Resources:

Bullying Statistics


Bullying Statistics (2009). Bullying Statistics 2010. Retrieved from http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-statistics-2010.html

Lyness, D. (2010). Helping Kids Deal With Bullies. Kids Health. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/bullies.html

The Colorado Department of Education. (2011). Bullying Prevention and Intervention. Retrieved from http://www.cde.state.co.us/pbis/Bullying/index.htm