Addressing Bullying in Kids & Teens

Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.

Bullying can take on many forms and can happen at any time—whether a child is on the playground or on their smartphone. And, sadly, it’s common: as many as 20% of kids and teens report being bullied, but less than half of the kids who say they’re bullied report it to someone of authority.

What’s the impact of bullying? Is there a way to tell if your child is being bullied and how they’re being targeted? How can parents and caretakers prevent or stop these harmful behaviors?

Audience Questions

Joyce Velt, LICSW, explains the effects of bullying on mental health, discusses how it can impact relationships in the short- and long-term, and answers audience questions about how we can help kids and teens feel included and welcome.

  • What is bullying and how does it differ from “kids just being kids?”
  • What are some of the signs and symptoms that my child may be being bullied?
  • What are some of the mental health impacts of short- and long-term bullying?
  • As a parent, I worry that my child is being bullied, but they won’t talk to me about it. How can I address the topic with them without making things worse?
  • Have you noticed differences in bullying in different age groups?
  • Is bullying something that can occur between siblings? Does this look different than in other social groups?
  • Is it possible for kids to bully their parents or caretakers?
  • As caretakers, what can we do if we witness bullying occurring in front of us?
  • How can I address cyberbullying with my kid? I imagine that it’s much harder to address this because there aren’t physical implications and it may be happening outside of school or home.
  • How can I address if my child is being bullied with their coaches/teachers/etc. without possibly causing additional provocation from the bully themselves?
  • As a teacher/coach/school counselor, I want to address bullying with the student populations that I work with. How can I go about doing that?
  • How can we be proactive and talk to other parents about helping address and reduce bullying behaviors in our kids’ environments?
  • What are some ways we can help our kids feel empowered to be less passive about bullying behaviors?
  • If you don’t have a very open relationship with your child, what are some actions or language you can start using to foster this kind of relationship?
  • What do I do if my child’s the bully? How do I approach this with them?
  • How can I address behaviors with the parents of the kids that are bullying a child? Do you have any research to provide parents so they can understand a child’s behavior is bullying and not “just joking?”
  • Can a bully get help to change their behavior?

The information discussed is intended to be educational and should not be used as a substitute for guidance provided by your health care provider. Please consult with your treatment team before making any changes to your care plan.


You may also find this information useful:

About Joyce Velt

Joyce Velt, LICSW, is the program director of the McLean SouthEast at Oak Street Adolescent Inpatient Program. Throughout her career, Ms. Velt has provided clinical treatment to a diverse population in a variety of settings, including inpatient, outpatient, and residential centers.

Ms. Velt started working at the McLean SouthEast Adolescent Acute Residential Treatment (ART) Program in 2011 as a clinician for adolescents and their families. In July 2021, Ms. Velt was appointed program director of the newly established 22-bed adolescent inpatient unit at McLean SouthEast at Oak Street, which opened September 2021.

More Webinars

It’s important to think about ways to manage your mental health. McLean is committed to providing mental health and self-care resources for all who may need them. You and your family may find these strategies from McLean experts helpful to feel mentally balanced in your everyday lives.

Sign up now for the next webinar in our Mental Health Webinar Series.

Originally aired on April 12, 2022