Kitty is a registered nurse. She uses what she has learned on the job to inspire and encourage others to take control of their health.
Bullying: Tips for Parents
If you are a parent of a teen or maybe a teen yourself, you probably know at least a little bit about the stress that goes along with rumors. Rumors are just another form of high school bullying, and there are ways to support your teen and/or keep yourself sane during a time when your teen (or you) is getting bullied by other teens who enjoy spreading nasty rumors.
I speak from experience on the topic of high school rumors and bullying. When I was in high school, I dealt with quite a bit of rumors in my junior and senior years. The worst of the rumors for me was in my senior year of high school.
Teens can be really cruel. Most of them, in my opinion, don't realize the damage that their high school rumors and high school bullying can cause, but we need to make them aware of it. If you're teen or child is involved in spreading high school rumors or high school bullying, please tell them how detrimental this can be to a teen's self-esteem and self-image. We need to treat others how we want to be treated.
On the other side of that, if you are the one getting the high school bullying or having high school rumors spread about you, there are certain ways to handle this situation. You can:
- Ignore it
- Retaliate by spreading rumors about the other person
- Fight them physically
What's the best approach though it is the most difficult approach to high school rumors? To ignore it. I'm saying this in all honesty because I've been there myself. If you're the parent of a teen who is being tortured by nasty high school rumors, don't encourage them to do the same . . . that would be stooping to that other teen's level. Encourage your teen to ignore the high school rumors.
Remind them that high school is a very short period of their lives and that when they get to college, it's a whole different story. High school drama and the importance of being "cool" or "popular" is not what the real world is like.
My mom used to tell me in response to how to deal with high school rumors, "they're just jealous of you." Which could very well have been true, but is not usually the best most trustworthy response to give a teen who is dealing with high school rumors or dealing with high school bullying. Why?
The teen doesn't tend to believe their parents when they're told that the other teens are just jealous of them. The teen tends to believe that they're not as good as the other teens and wish they could be like them. Remind your teen that individuality and uniqueness are essential in this world . . . along with hard work and motivation.
If your teen is wrapped up in popularity or worried about high school rumors, keep reminding them of the importance of their futures and to remember that high school will soon pass, and they won't generally have to deal with high school rumors or high school bullying in the real world.
Plus, if your teen is going away to college or moving out of state after high school, they won't have to see those nasty teens from high school anymore anyway! Trust me . . . I don't plan on attending my ten-year high school reunion, and why? I didn't like those nasty teens then, so why would I like them now? High school rumors and high school bullying last for a short period of time, but the victim of high school rumors and high school bullying will always remember being bullied.
Unfortunately, the ignore method doesn't always work . . . so in cases where the bullying continues or worsens, the next step is a requirement. That is to first notify the school's officials of the harassment. If they don't take it seriously and restrict or punish the kid doing the bullying, then the next step is to get the police involved and notify them that your child is being harassed in school and that no one is doing anything about it. If that doesn't work, get the news involved!
For Kids Being Bullied
For the kids who are being bullied in school or elsewhere, here's your advice: do not stand for it! This doesn't mean retaliate with violence or hatred, this simply means to tell the individual harassing you to stop, or you will get the school and police involved. If they do not stop their harassment, then you tell someone at your school and your parents.
Read More From Wehavekids
If that makes things worse and the kid still doesn't stop, then you need to go one step further and have your parents notify the police of this harassment. Get a restraining order. Whatever you have to do to protect yourself and get that person away from you.
Bullying is not okay and should not be tolerated by anyone. While you can ignore it for a while, if the torture and torment continue, it is not good for your mental health or spiritual health. Don't let anyone push you around or tell you to stuff it down. Try the ignore method at first, as most kids will lay off if they don't feel like they're getting a response. But if the kid continues, go to the next step as mentioned above.
Remember that violence is NOT THE KEY to beating the bullying trend. At the same time, do not allow someone to physically hurt or hold you down. Protect yourself, but without the use of weapons or deadly force. No one's stupidity is worth losing your opportunities or life over.
Questions & Answers
Question: The mean girl got in trouble. She told the nice girl she was a horrible person for making me cry. What should I do?
Answer: If you're asking whether you should forgive her or not, that's up to you. If you're asking if you should be friends with her or not, I wouldn't. Protect yourself. Find friends who weren't bullies beforehand.
Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on September 29, 2017:
Anonymous - You apologize, and find new friends. All our decisions result in consequences. Sometimes you can't "fix" what you've already done. You just have to learn from it and move on with life.
Anonymous487 on September 28, 2017:
I want to remain anonymous. People have been spreading rumors about me. I responded back with b. I retaliated back with rumors about them. I kept on retaliating with more rumors about them. Eventually, they all backfired and I got in trouble. Now I lost all my friends, I had a lot of friends and I used to be a very likeable person. How can I fix this?
Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on September 15, 2017:
Kritish - Find new friends. Real friends are the kind of people who don't belittle you or isolate you. Don't pay any attention to them.
Kritish on September 15, 2017:
Hlo Nichole.I have been subjected to bullying from childhood. My friends use racist comments and don't even talk and allow me to sit with them.Please tell me what to do
Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on September 07, 2012:
Ignore the texts, it is your right to turn down things you don't want to do. Don't let other people peer pressure you or guilt you into doing something that you don't feel is right for you. Stay strong. Keep your head up. The rumors will soon pass. Blessings, sweetheart!
sunkistgirl636 on September 06, 2012:
i just switched schools, a boyasked for sex i said no so now there are rumors being spred about me, the whole school even boys i don't know are txting me and askin me about it. what do i do? im worried for my reputation, ive never had sex gotten drunk or high, i have tried to be a respectable person how do i stop one rumor from changin that?
Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on June 05, 2012:
Julie, sweetie. That was your decision to make and your right as a human being. Hopefully you protected yourself? Always make sure you're using protection, please. From my personal point of view, when I was a teen the same types of horrible rumors were spread about me...and I wasn't anything like what the rumors said. DON'T let it bring you down...keep in mind that it is JUST high school, it may seem like the world to you now but when you get out you'll realize that your entire life is ahead of you and you don't EVER have to see those people again. Blessings and keep your head up. You're beautiful and you are NOT what they say! Just respect yourself and take care of yourself. And only do what you want to do.
Julie on June 05, 2012:
I ruined my reputation by having sex. Everyone calls me awful names and I only have a few friends now. Everyone thinks I just am a total skank now. I have had so much trouble the last few months. I wish it never happened but I know I can't take it back. I want to move far away but that wouldn't help. I don't know if I should try to deny it, im a good liar, or just tell people I made a mistake. I was really popular so everyone knows.
Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on March 13, 2012:
Hi, Franzelle. Don't feel like you are alone. God is indeed with you, and there are many people out there who are going and have gone through the same things that you're dealing with right now (including myself). Keep your head up, girl. Trust me when I say that this too shall pass. When you are out of school and living in the real world, you'll see that all of the drama and crap that you had to put up with in high school fades away. None of it will matter...and you'll have a wonderful life. Don't let these kids get you down or make you cry. It's not worth it, honey. Feel free to email me or comment here any time you need an uplifting word. I'll keep you in my thoughts.
my email - firstname.lastname@example.org
franzelle on March 13, 2012:
I am 14 years old right now in sophomores and i was bullied too until now. I always cry everynight. I'm not strong enough to be brave i just pray to God to keep me strong when all my friends is against me. what can i do?
Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on November 03, 2011:
gail641 - Yes, bullies are the worst. Thanks for sharing.
Gail Louise Stevenson from Mason City on November 03, 2011:
I remember the bullies in the schools I went to. There was one in Junior High who used to call me this ugly name and he always sneered at me. His friends were just like him. I sure didn't like him at all and I'm glad I have never seen him again. Once I heard that he always visits a crack house. I tried to exnore him. He was short and ugly. He always sneered though. His name was in the paper for hitting someone with his elbow on purpose. Bullies are terrible! This was many years ago in the early 1970s.
Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on October 29, 2011:
Dolores - That's an awesome story! He did a good job at handling that bully and it turned out great in the end. That's just wonderful to hear. Honestly, I might've stood by and watched as kids got picked on in elementary school but usually felt horrible afterwards for not standing up for them...but I could never flat-out make fun of or pick on someone just for the fun of it. Thanks for sharing!
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on October 29, 2011:
Bullies create a feeling of weakness and terror in the victims. How horrible is that, to want to terrorize someone? I can't imagine. I have 4 kids, 3 of which had no problem whatsoever $6 with bullies. I feel like what with all the kids running around here, somebody was always catching some crap so they were used to it.
My one son was approached by a very large, tough older guy who said, "well aren't you a pretty little (nasty word for gay)." My son just stood there for a moment then said - "well you look pretty good yourself." There was a brief pause then the bully burst out laughing. Every time they passed one another in the hall, they'd look at one another and laugh. It worked, as humor sometimes does.
Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on October 21, 2011:
I'm sorry to hear that. But maybe he'll surprise you.
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on October 21, 2011:
Hi Kitty-I wish I could agree with you re: a better future for my nephew. Unfortunately, I think he will be picked on all of his life. I predict that there will be issues throughout his life that we don't have to deal with. In fact, he will be 'lucky' if he experiences college at all. He has a complexity of issues...Thanks for the comments though.
Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on October 20, 2011:
MonetteforJack - That's very brave and probably would work if it snapped the kid out of the state of mind their in. I would guarantee that it doesn't work on every bully unfortunately. Thanks for sharing and it is true that many bullies are experiencing their own accounts of bullying.
MonetteforJack from Tuckerton, NJ on October 20, 2011:
I feel for the nephew of Denise Handlon. One way of tackling the bully is asking. I remembered asking a bully "Why are you mean to me? What have I done to you?" I remembered I was trembling so much and crying, I really do not know why that girl was everyday bullying me. I just cannot take the bullying anymore so I asked. The girl was taken aback. She did not answer me but she stopped anything to do with me. She practically ignored me until we graduated high school. Even when others will bully me, she did not particpated. Bullies come and go. Just as Meisjunk said the bullies had some issues. I learned later on, many of those who bullied me came from broken homes. Sad ...
Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on October 20, 2011:
Meisjunk - I fully agree with you on everything you've said here. Violence is not the way to deal with bullying..the only time I condone it is if the victim feels physically threatened...then I say, go for it! But verbal abuse? There's ways to handle it. And we have to keep reminding them that's it's ONLY high school...there's a whole life ahead of them that doesn't involve high school rumors and high school bullying.
Jennifer Kessner from Pennsylvania on October 19, 2011:
I've tried to make it a point of standing between bullies and the bullied. Intimidation usually works, but I think one of the issues people tend to forget is that many bullies are bullying kids because of ALREADY being bullied (or intimidated) either at home or elsewhere.
It's different for each situation, but I am very against violence in bullying cases. Hate only begets hate! And hate is exactly what people think of when violence is involved.
I've heard that pointing out the old adage "would you like someone to do this to you?!" to bullies doesn't even work because the kids (and sadly adults too) try to not care. Communication is always best, but which way to go about it? Again, it's different in every situation. I think the key is to figure out what WILL make the bully care and try to get them to understand that there are MUCH better ways to go about being heard and understood themselves.
I hope everyone is able to handle bullying either for themselves or their children in the best way possible for each particular case!
Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on October 19, 2011:
visionandfocus - I agree that the reality TV shows do sort of set a tone of competition and stabbing others in the backs just to get ahead. While many teens watch those shows, I think that a lot of adults watch them too. But, there are even many adults that will stab their friends and coworkers in the back to climb the corporate ladder...I guess you could consider that bullying to a certain degree. Thanks for sharing and I hope we can all put a stop to this one day.
denise - I'm so sorry to hear that you and your nephew have had to deal with such torture. I'm sure he's a lovely boy. But, just because his high school years aren't filled with fun and good memories doesn't mean that his college years or adult years won't be! I am living proof of that. And I wouldn't change high school...even the rumors that I dealt with and why? Because it's made me a stronger person and I am able to stand on my own and be my own individual self..and not worry about what the crowd is doing or thinks of me. Thanks for sharing and good luck to you and your nephew.
Denise Handlon from North Carolina on October 18, 2011:
Well, now I know what NOT to say to my bullied teen--and, I don't say that b/c I doubt that any of these kids are 'jealous' of my nephew.
What I don't have an answer for is what to say to him to help him thru this. I do let him know ALL the time, that I am his advocate, that I will back him up in the endeavor to get it to stop.
I'm so sick of this bullying nation of ours. It is SUPPOSED to be a no bullying zone, but it is not. And, not even the teachers advocate for the victims.
For my nephew it is not just one or in one class. I feel sad for him and sorry that he has to go thru this. Each year I have been to the school with one person or another. This is his third year-a fresh set of tenth graders have just arrived on campus to target this junior. And, I thought it would get better as he got into the older grade levels.
So, this year I have been teaching him communication first; if that doesn't work go to the teacher first; if that doesn't help follow a 'chain of command' and go to the 11th gr counselor and name names. If that does not resolve the problem I will be there to talk together with you to the assistant princepal.
My nephew is an easy target and a very lonely boy. It breaks my heart to know that his h.s. years will NOT be filled with fun memories of friends and activities.
visionandfocus from North York, Canada on October 18, 2011:
It seems bullying is become an epidemic, and I believe the way the media glorifies meanness through movies and reality TV (where people are encouraged to compete against each other and vote people out and make hurtful comments either behind people's backs or to their faces) have a lot to answer for. But the prevalence of bullying nowadays is also partly due to people speaking out more (no doubt it's been around as long as high school itself). Parents really need to bully-proof their kids and keep open communication with them throughout high school. It's hard to get a teen to open up to you, though. I do feel for parents.
Great hub--voted up and a bunch of others. :)
Btw, I also never attend class reunions, and often wonder at the complete absence of self-awareness of those bullies who don't even seem to know that no-one really wants to see them again!
Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on October 18, 2011:
Yes, Paradise. Physical bullying is one thing...verbal is different. Now I know there are special cases in which teens have committed suicide or more drastic things because of verbal abuse, but their parents have to realize this is going on and either help their kids work through it or take action by going to the school board...if it's indeed severe. Thanks!
Paradise7 from Upstate New York on October 18, 2011:
I agree with you, Kitty. Ignore the trolls in the high school halls if you possibly can. If you (or your child, for the parents of teenagers) are being physically bullied and pushed around, find several large and beefy friends, and confront the bullies. Give them a lasting taste of their own medicine. God hates a coward!
Kitty Fields (author) from Summerland on October 18, 2011:
Mr. Happy - I can fully understand the need sometimes to fight back...and in some cases I would encourage it. But for me, and for many kids, if they're able to realize that it's not worth the fighting, they can try to ignore it. Be the bigger person. Yes, definitely stand up for yourself...don't let someone physically push you around or make a fool out of you, but also don't just haul off and hit someone in the face if you feel they're spreading rumors about you. That's the message that I'm trying to convey. But again, it's going to be different for each kid or teen that's getting the high school bullying. Thanks for sharing!
MonetteforJack - That's awful that we're grown adults and someone was bullying you! Ridiculous and childish. I would've dropped her as a friend too. It's one thing in school to be bullied, but it's another thing to be an adult and be bullied. Good job in standing up for yourself!
Amymarie - Sounds very similar to my story in high school. Some of who I thought were my closest friends were telling people that I had STDs and all sorts of horrible things. All of which were untrue. They even tried to get my steady boyfriend to break up with me! How cruel are teens. I chose to ignore the high school rumors but it did effect me deeply. I didn't have any friends in the high school that I attended, but had one best friend who I worked with and a boyfriend who was my other best friend. That worked for me, and honestly, I didn't mind not having tons of friends. Popularity wasn't worth all of that drama for me. Then I got out into the real world and realized that I am a pretty cool person and that most of the girls who spread high school rumors about me are probably miserable now! Or they'll get what's coming to them one day. Thanks!
Amy DeMarco from Chicago on October 18, 2011:
I was bullied in jr. high school and then in my senior year of high school a few of my friends turned on me and spread rumors about me. I lost all my friends. It was a terrible year. I ignored the bullying when it was happening but it affected me so much. Eventually my 'true' friends came back to me and asked me to forgive them. I remember carrying the anger with me for years. One day I ran into one of the girls that instigated the bullying and she apologized to me. Her life also didn't turn out very well. I was able to let go of my anger after that day. I'm glad that there is more awareness about bullying these days. This is such a wonderful article. I hope kids read it and it helps them. Rated up and useful.
MonetteforJack from Tuckerton, NJ on October 18, 2011:
I know what you went through because I had similar experiences like yours. Recently, I had to cut off a friendship of 5 years because she bullied me and THIS, we are already way, way past high school. It's real life. Standing up for yourself is never easy. I came to realize that knowing there are people who love and support me can make me develop the backbone and strength to stand for myself. Thanks for the hub.
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on October 18, 2011:
bullying is a huge problem in public schools and high-schools. When I first arrived in Canada, I had an encounter with a bully. I guess not speaking English and being new to the country was something to be bullied about. Since I didn't know how to say anything in English, I had to let things slide by. After a few weeks though, I said enough is enough and although the guy was much bigger than me, I landed him a beating on the stairwell of our school, while we were heading from one class to another and that settled things.
I've put myself between bullies and the ones who were picked on in high-school out of principle. I've always been pretty plain and clear to bullies: "You wanna bully someone, you will have to go through me first ...". That sentence always worked for me. I never had to actually fight (except for that kid in grade eight when I first arrived here).
I do not promote violence at all but I do think it is important at times for people to stand their ground. There is no crystal clear method of eliminating bullying ... I basically try to show them (the bullies) that in the same way that they bully people, they can be bullied themselves. Then, they realize the stupidity of their actions, in my opinion.
Perhaps through education we can better things regarding this topic because there are kids committing suicide due to bullying issues - this is quite a serious matter in my opinion, thanks for writing about it!
All the best.