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20-40-60 Etiquette: I’ve heard someone may be a bully

If I have heard of a child bullying other children, how do I tell the parents of the alleged bully? Joe Hight has the guest answer.

by Lillie-Beth Brinkman Published: September 2, 2012

HELEN’S ANSWER: First and foremost, you probably need to define “bully.” Are they calling the boys names? Hitting them? Teasing them? Writing derogatory comments on Facebook? Any of the above is not acceptable behavior.

The parents of the children involved should take it up with the offender’s parents and you can encourage them to do. Then, let them take it from there. The behavior needs to be stopped immediately and will only stop when someone notices and take action. Be as honest as possible when encouraging the parents. Tell them if it were your child, you would want to know.

GUEST’S ANSWER: Joe Hight: The Oklahoman’s director of information and development: Consider talking to the two other children’s parents first and see if they would be willing to come with you to talk to the “bully’s” parents. Then meet for coffee or lunch and express to the “bully’s” parents what you know about the child’s behavior. Do not call the child a “bully”; just simply state what you know to have occurred.

If the behavior continues, take the matter to school administrators so the behavior can be stopped immediately.

Parents should also talk to their own children about bullying and explain why it’s unacceptable. For more information, this government website has useful information:

To ask an etiquette question, email For more 20-40-60 etiquette, go to

by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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