It is a fear that every parent knows — your child is being bullied. It can happen anywhere, anytime and the worst part is that in many cases children are too embarrassed or ashamed to admit to anyone what's happening.

Bullying can cause depression, anxiety, isolation, anger and in the most extreme cases, suicide. It is a real problem that parents, teachers, school counselors, coaches, administrators, other parents and anyone else who comes into contact with children must take seriously and handle proactively.

Ask Questions

For parents, paying attention, asking questions and being involved in your child's school are several ways to stay on top of what is happening in your child's life. Many times parents want to give children space. That is understandable but that does not mean parents can abdicate their parental responsibilities. You know when your child is behaving strangely and you must act on your intuition to inquire about what's going on in their life. If your child won't tell you, start asking questions of teachers and school employees and, if the situation is concerning enough, possibly even your child's friends.

Be Supportive

If your child is the victim of bullying, explain to him that it's nothing to be ashamed of and that you are there to support him and protect him.

Alert the Right People

If the bullying is occurring at school or is school-connected, like cyberbullying from classmates, you need to alert school officials so they can become involved. Identify the bully or bullies, give school officials specific dates, times and details of the bullying and demand that they act promptly to confront the problem.

Follow-up

Follow-up is crucial and make sure that you have a phone number and email address to a school employee who will be your point of contact on the issue. Do not be afraid to reach out to them often. This is a serious problem and should be treated as such.

Make Necessary Changes

If you are worried about your child's physical well-being, you might strongly consider removing him from the school or ask to place him in a different class. In any event, all options should be considered.

Teach Your Child How to Respond

As for your child, remind him that his well-being is your priority. Tell him that the most important thing he can do when confronted by a bully is to walk away, ignore the person, remain calm and try to remove himself from the situation. If it's impossible to get away and your child is being physically hurt, try to teach him methods to defend himself so he can get away and find a trusted adult to help him.

Seek Help

It might also be necessary to have your child speak with a therapist or counselor to handle the fallout from the bullying and to see if there are other issues that need to be dealt with. It is critical that your child remember that he is valued and to help rebuild his self-esteem.

There are many other thoughts on this important topic. You can find some quality talking points here.