My best friend’s daughter is 9 years old. They just moved to a new city so she had to start a new school last month. We all know that kids can be mean, but she has really had a hard time fitting in as the new student. She comes home more anxious and angry now and on several occasions told her parents that the kids in her class are making fun of her glasses, calling her fat, and teasing her for having a “uni-brow”. The biggest problem is, my friend doesn’t know where the line is between normal behavior of “kids being kids” and bullying. She is afraid to cross that line and accuse these students of bullying her daughter, yet she feels like she is letting her daughter down if she doesn’t show concern and stand up for her as a parent.

I haven’t experienced this yet with my son, so I haven’t really been able to give her any first hand advice. But I did do a little research and found some great tips that I think are important for all parents to be aware of. It's hard for some parents to know when kids are just being kids and when it's time to step in.

If you notice sudden changes in your child’s mood or behavior, physical marks such as cuts or bruises, difficulty sleeping, headaches, bed wetting, and changes in eating habits, you should schedule a conference with his/her teacher and a school counselor.

Repeated bullying may cause severe emotional harm and can erode a child’s self-esteem and mental health. Whether in comes in the form of verbal abuse or physical, long-term effects are harmful and could be tragic.

How do you know where the line is and when to step in and protect them?

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