Teenage girl being bullied

Ask Rene:
I Think My Daughter Is A Bully! What Can I Do?


Hi Rene,

I have a really tricky situation on my hands!

My daughter, Rebecca, is 14 years old – and over the last couple of years has changed from a sweet angel to a sarcastic, argumentative and angry teenager.

Last week I went to pick her up from school and was shocked to see her and a group of her friends picking on another girl and shoving her around.

When I asked her about it Rebecca didn’t even try to deny it. She said the girl was a ‘bitch’ and deserved what she got.

I don’t like this new Rebecca and I have a horrible feeling that this wasn’t an isolated incident.

How can I find out if my daughter really is a bully? And more importantly – how can I stop this behavior?

Frustrated and very sad.

Claire, Michigan


Hi Claire:

As I read your letter I have two feelings.  I, too, am saddened to hear this. Bullying is not something to be taken lightly and studies have shown it tends to be underreported. But I am also impressed that you are able to be honest about your daughter and her actions. Continuing on there, you are going to need to develop a plan and quick.

1. Open Communication

Image 1 of 4

You have to talk to Rebecca as well as school officials because you need to make sure you are getting an accurate picture of the situation. The conversation with Rebecca needs to happen in a quiet place where she can drop the false bravado and you have a real shot of getting through to her. I am a big believer in the fact that kids will perform to the level of expectation so you will lay out for her what is expected as a member of your family. With officials, I would talk to the principal as well as some of her teachers. Ask them to keep an eye out and let you know what they are seeing. Teachers have a lot to do during the school day but they might be able to give you a sense of what is going on.