My child is being bullied
Bullying should be taken seriously. Children and young people need to know that they are being heard, that their feelings matter and that their issue will be investigated respectfully.
If your child tells you they are being bullied, the following ideas may help.
Listen calmly and get the full story
Encourage your child to talk about what happened. Tell your child that reporting the bullying is okay.
Listen carefully. After they've told you about it, ask questions to get more details if you need to: who, what, where, when.
Reassure your child
Many children blame themselves and this may make them feel even worse. Say things like, 'That sounds really hard to deal with' or 'I'm so glad you told me. You should feel safe at school.'
Ask your child what they want to do – and what they want you to do
It is important that you help your child to find their own solution as this will help them feel that they have some control over the situation.
Your child may be reluctant for you to speak to school staff. Discuss the idea and reassure them that the school would want to know and is able to help.
Make an appointment to meet with your child's teacher and, if you need to, ask to talk with the principal.
Contact the school immediately if you have a concern about your child's safety.
If your child wants to talk to someone other than the school, or you think added support would help, you may refer them to Kids Helpline. They can also call for free on 1800 55 1800.
When you contact the school
Ask the school for a copy of the anti-bullying policy and any information they have on bullying.
Work with your child’s school to resolve the issue by establishing a plan for how the current situation, as well as any future bullying will be addressed. The school’s counsellor or psychologist is also available if required.
It’s important to know that schools must follow privacy laws and may not be able to tell you everything about any other children involved. These laws also keep you and your child’s information private too.
Keep a record of the school meeting and ways in which you will work together to resolve the issue.
If the bullying continues or increases, contact the school. Working together with the school is the best way to help resolve bullying issues.
Discuss and practise strategies to respond to bullying
Many children and young people want to try to deal with the bullying themselves in the first instance.
The strategies below may be useful if your child feels safe using these ideas:
- Ignoring the person doing the bullying.
- Telling them to stop and then walking away.
- Pretending you don't care; act unimpressed or not bothered.
- Moving to somewhere safe.
Practise with your child at home so they can use the strategies in situations they find difficult. Give feedback on whether they are getting their message across assertively. Practising at home can help your child feel more confident about trying the strategies at school.
Adapted with permission from Bullying. No Way!
Support for Parents and Carers
Kids Helpline also has a parent line with trained teams who provide support, information and counselling for parents of children aged 0-18 years. You can call them for the cost of a local call between 9am to 9 pm Monday to Friday and 4pm to 9pm on weekends on 1300 1300 52.
You can speak to the parent line counsellors using an interpreter. The Translating and Interpreting Service can be contacted on 13 14 50 to arrange this.
Learn more about bullying at Bullying. No Way!