Bullying Classroom Family Life

Protecting the New Kid in Town Against Bullying

Kay Hall - April 11, 2024

Young people who change schools are more likely to experience most types of bullying than other kids, as found in the comprehensive report, Characteristics of Bullying Victims in Schools. They are also more likely to be continuing victims across various years of study and have a higher risk of being victims of bullying at a new school if they have not previously been bullied. Those who have been at the receiving end of bullying are more likely to escape this plight if they change schools. Whichever is the case for your child, being aware of the potential risks of bullying is vital, as is taking steps to prevent it or nip it in the bud.

Moves Are Inherently Stressful

Research indicates that moving home and changing schools can be stressful for kids, as they have to change their familiar environment and relationships and start ‘from scratch’. It can create a blend of feelings that includes loneliness, homesickness, anxiety, stress, and grief. Moves can be particularly tough for early and middle-year students, as they undergo key physical and emotional developmental phases at these stages. However, bullying impacts kids across all age groups. A retrospective study by Eslea and Reese found that it peaked between the ages of 11 and 13, with 86% of children between the ages of 12 and 15 reporting that they get teased or bullied at school.  Because it is so prevalent and your child is already dealing with the many challenges that moving their place of residence and/or school imposes, dealing with bullying proactively is vital. 

Embracing a Mindful Move

The first step to stopping bullying in its tracks is arming your child with confidence and helping to reduce their vulnerability and stress. Start by embracing mindfulness techniques during your move. Pack your house up slowly, visit your child’s new school or home a few times prior to the move, and equip them with mindfulness techniques such as meditation, visualization, yoga, and breathwork. These techniques can help your child deal with stress calmly instead of feeling overwhelmed or attacked. They have been shown in numerous studies to help lower levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, and to help stop the fight or flight response in its tracks. Mindfulness is an excellent way for your child to face the difficulties of teasing, bullying and other negative behaviors. It can help your child realize that although these emotions are painful, they are temporary and they do not define them. Mindfulness is just one piece of the puzzle, of course. Another equally power pillar is stopping bullying immediately so it cannot wreak its havoc in the long term. 

Watching Out for Signs of Bullying

Bullying has been found in many studies to have long-term consequences, including a heightened risk of depression, mental disorders, social isolation, anxiety, and more. Therefore, nipping the issue in the bud is key—and doing so starts by being vigilant for signs that your child may be experiencing bullying at school. Start by establishing open communication with your child. Be an active listener and ask them to tell you about their day, asking open-ended questions so they are more likely to drop inklings that things may not be going well. Observe telltale behaviors such as appetite changes, doing poorly at school, having difficulty sleeping, and complaining of stomachaches and other conditions that can lead to your child missing days of school. Check their belongings as well, ensuring that nothing is missing or damaged.

What to Do if You Spot Bullying

If your child is being bullied, compile a record of bullying incidents and contact their school. Work alongside the staff to create a plan for addressing the problem and keeping your child safe. Teach them important strategies such as ignoring or walking away from the bully and immediately seeking help from a teacher or other staff member they trust. Finally, seek mental health support to curb the effects that bullying can have on your child’s health and well-being.

Moving to a new town can increase the likelihood of bullying for kids. This is because it takes time for them to form friendships and create a support base. Give your child the tools they need to survive against bullying and encourage them to let you know if any incidents of bullying take place. Let them know that bullying can have serious consequences for their health, so it is important to take a proactive stance against it instead of just waiting for it to go away.


Kay spent several years working as an e-safety officer, dedicated to educating both children and adults on enjoying cyberspace in safety. Since starting a family of her own, she has returned to her first love of writing, and contributes to a number of websites on the topics that matter to her.