If your tween or teen says she can handle the bullying on her own, offer to wait a day or two before intervening, to see if the issue resolves itself. Make clear that it's out of concern for her well-being—not because you want to "fix things" for her. Regardless, take these steps.
- Log all incidents and take photos of any injuries. If there is cyberbullying, create a screen grab (a saved image of what's on the computer screen)—or ask your teen to do it for you. With conventional bullying there is often no "proof," but cyberbullying leaves behind evidence.
- Consider talking to the bully's parents. Chances are, they have no idea what's going on. But instead of launching into a tirade about their kid's behavior, which just creates conflict, say something like "I don't know if you're aware of this, but my child feels your kid is being mean to him."
- Contact other adults who are responsible for your kid's safety. Ask teachers or the school counselor—without your child's knowledge if need be—to keep an eye on her. Call the principal to inform him of the problem and request a copy of the school district's anti-bullying policy. The next step would be to go to the superintendent's office.
- If the situation escalates, contact the police. While they usually won't get involved unless a physical threat has been made or there's actually been an assault, they can assist you with filing a restraining or anti-harassment order.
- If school officials or the police do not follow state laws, take legal action. (Check bullypolice.com for your state's bullying law.)