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What to do when your child is accused of being the bully

Whether you consider your child to be an angel who would never step out of line or know that he or she has a tendency to be somewhat of a troublemaker, finding out that your little one has been involved in a bully showdown is always a shock. It doesn't matter if it was only teasing or a serious physical confrontation, it's painful as a parent to hear that your son or daughter dealt out such treatment on another student. Here are a few things to keep in mind to help your family deal with this news.

Get the facts
Before you jump to any conclusions about the situation, it's important that you gather the cold, hard facts. This can often mean taking your kid's side of the story with a grain of salt without getting defensive about comments from the supposed victim, other parents or school administrators. Only when you find out what really happened can you take the next step.

Accept responsibility
Despite how you feel about self defense or standing up for yourself, school administrators rarely tolerate physical or verbal abuse of any kind – even if your child claims he or she was provoked. Regardless of the situation, he or she has to understand that all actions have consequences in order to learn from them.

Don't take it personally
While you might feel that fighting and bullying are poor reflections on your parenting skills, it's important not to take this news personally. Just like everyone else, kids are bound to make mistakes as they move through life. What matters is how you and your child deal with and overcome these errors.