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Helping a 10-year-old deal with bullies

Published: December 1, 2010 | Last Updated: June 11, 2016 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
A mom asks how to help her 10-year old daughter deal with bullies.


Dear Irene,

My 10-year-old daughter has been having a lot of trouble with friends recently. Some of the problems are caused by boy drama, and the “he said, she said” game. Kids have been spreading rumors about her, and I just don’t know what to do. I have tried to get involved by giving suggestions on how to deal with the rumors. I have tried talking to other moms about their children’s behavior, but all I did was make it worse.

I am at the point where I am considering getting permission from her principal to change schools within the district. I really don’t want to do this. These kids have all grown up together, and I recognize that they are going to grow apart. I just don’t understand the cruelty.

Signed, Michelle


Dear Michelle,

These are years when young girls’ friendships can be fickle and kids can be hard on one another. That said, if these rumors are persistent, your daughter is being bullied. This has to be painful for both you and her and needs to be addressed.

I’m glad that your daughter has confided in you and told you about these problems. This isn’t a situation that can be ignored or pushed under the rug. If your prior attempts to support your daughter haven’t been successful, the problem probably requires intervention from her school. Contact your daughter’s teacher or the school principal so they know about the bullying, and can develop a strategy for addressing it.

Is your daughter feeling the effects of these rumors? Is she depressed? Anxious? Has there been a decline in her school performance? Because you are concerned, it could be useful to have her see a counselor outside of school, who is experienced with children her age who are being bullied. This person could help your daughter develop and rehearse ideas about what she should say and how she should act at school with these kids.

Changing schools can be very uprooting both academically and socially. So I would hold that out as a last resort. Hopefully, the school will be able to work things out and bring this situation to an end. In the meantime, it could be helpful to create opportunities for your daughter to socialize outside of school, perhaps by taking a music or sports class, until things simmer down.

Here are some useful additional tips from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) aimed at parents whose children are being bullied:

Tip Sheet for Parents

Additional information about bullying

My best,

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Comments (2)

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  1. Race says:

    People expect me to automatically jump into friendships too soon. I do not like that because it indicates that they do not respect my pace and abilities. This behavior is hurtful to me due to the fact I want to do this at my own speed and set boundaries to protect myself from hurtful relationships. I would rather be friendless than jump into a fast friendship. I don’t like it when people push me into relationships. I feel I have right to decide if I am ready for a friendship. What is your opinion?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Bullying is a big concern that affects lots of school aged children and need to be needs to be taken seriously. Parents should give your child the courage to face the situation and encourage him/her to be brave enough to handle the situation. Help your child understand not to bully back by explaining the situations that may happen if a child becomes a bully himself and encourage your child to avoid and ignore the bully. I would like to share this link, about a service on how to protect your children. Check it out it’s interesting: http://safekidzone.com/

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