How to deal with a bullying situation

Regardless of the causes that originate Bullying, the situation or the action of the aggressors is never justifiable, the taking of measures to stop the situation must not be allowed, nor delayed.

When the dynamic in which the dominant party abuses the "dominable" part is accepted, the situation worsens, since a "feedback" occurs that aggravates the manifestations and their consequences. It is not uncommon for insensitization or acceptance on the part of fellow witnesses to occur, who do not directly attack but indirectly through the omission of relief.

The main responsibility for the protection of minors corresponds to their parents, but everyone, from our competence and scope, must collaborate, and if necessary, report the situation, in case of being a witness.


One of the first steps against bullying is to establish good coordination with the school, based on respect and trust. In this way it is much easier to get the situation to end. This same relationship based on trust and collaboration is also recommended for the parents of bullies. These parents also suffer for their children, and these children also need help.

What can parents do to realize that their child is being bullied?

Be alert to possible symptoms of school bullying and changes in attitude:
- refusal to go to school or symptoms of anxiety before school (which improve or disappear on weekends or holidays)
- mood swings, sadness or irritability
- social isolation, avoid activities with peers
- fugitive or strange attitude
- complaints of physical discomfort, headache or abdomen
- decreased appetite
- distracted or self-absorbed in his thoughts
- greater nervousness or appearance of fears
- regression in sphincter control (Do not control urination or stool after leaving the diaper)
- wounds or bruises
- loss of material
- deterioration in academic performance
- anxiety before going to sleep or difficulties with sleep


How should parents act when they suspect bullying?

1. Encourage an environment of trust and communication in which the child feels comfortable to share everything that happens to him.
2. Take seriously what your child tells you, do not doubt it.
3. Avoid blaming the child or justify the abuse.
4. Do not let time go by nor wait for it to have consequences.
5. Avoid expressions that trivialize, such as "they are children's things", "you better defend yourself", "arrange the situation", advise them to "try to make friends with their aggressors", or to "pass".
6. Try to always solve it with the school, or the competent authorities (Public Prosecutor's Office, police, Civil Guard, health services) if necessary. Avoid treating the situation directly with the aggressor or his parents.
7. Review what measures have been taken, and keep in regular contact with the school, keeping track of the situation.
8. If the school seems not to take action, bring it to the attention of the competent authority. Both the omission of relief, (Article 195) and the assault against others both moral (Article 173) and physical, as the induction of suicide (Article 143.1), are punishable by law.


Azucena Díez Suárez. Specialist in Child and Adolescent Pediatrics and Psychiatry.
María del Mar Unceta González. Resident of Clinical Psychiatry University of Navarra

Video: The Effects of Bullying: What Parents Need to Know


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