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Help & Information

Is My Child A Bully?

No one wants to admit the possibility that their child is a bully and most parents will think ‘no way, not my child’. But every child is capable of bullying and if you find out your child has been bullying others, you should confront it. Just take a deep breath, gather details about what exactly transpired and let the school know that you want to work together for a positive outcome.

What To Do If Your Child Is Bullying Others

Acknowledge the Behaviour

Sit down with your child, speak in a calm, firm tone and ask them what happened and why they behaved a certain way. Be a good listener and avoid blame. Children and young people need to understand that it’s okay to admit they made a mistake.

Ask questions to help them understand how their behaviour affects others: Is what you did respectful? ‘Did it hurt someone? Would you want someone to do that to you?” Explain the importance of treating people fairly and with respect.


Help your child understand that they are accountable for their actions. Bullying is unacceptable behaviour and it is important your child understands this. Depending on the circumstances, you can eliminate something your child enjoys so the consequence will be significant, such as, taking away their mobile phone for a period of time, removing or reducing TV or video game time, or preventing participation in a social outing. Talk to them about how it would feel like to be in the other person’s shoes to ensure they fully understand the impact their behaviour has had.

Working With the School

Situations like this work best when school staff see that parents sincerely want to work with them to improve the situation. Although bullying is an emotive issue, try to remain calm and not become angry and defensive. Find out exactly what your child has been doing and for how long. School staff spend a lot of time with their pupils and are often able to see how they interact with their peers, notice patterns in behaviour and recognise classroom dynamics.

Depending on the severity of the bullying issue, the school may issue a sanction against your child, such as:

  • A warning
  • Detention
  • Permanent or Temporary Exclusion

If the incident involves violence, abuse or demands for money, then the Police may be involved.

Request a copy of the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy as this will explain how the school will deal with the issue and what help will be given.

Work with the school to help your child learn behaviours that are constructive. Find out if counselling or other support is available to help and encourage your child to change their behaviour and stop bullying. Keep in regular contact with the school to ensure your child’s behaviour improves.

Helping the Child Who Bullies

There is a lot that a parent can do to help their child stop bullying. By taking immediate action, you can help your child learn new ways of managing their feelings, peer pressure and conflict with others. Talk to them and try to find out why your child has been bullying others. Try to understand the reason for your child’s behaviour. Maybe they have trouble managing strong emotions such as anger or frustration or has there been a recent change or disruption in your child’s life? Is your child being bullied as well?

  • Reassure your child you still love them and that they are not bad. It’s their behaviour you don’t like and you will help them change this and correct the situation. Ask them how they think the bullying could stop. What do they think has to change in order for them to change?
  • Listen to what others have to say about your child’s behaviour. Then, listen to your child’s side of the story. Try to understand the reason for your child’s behaviour. Is your child being bullied? Are their friends bullies? Maybe they have trouble managing strong emotions such as anger or frustration
  • Teach Empathy. Explain that bullying causes physical, psychological and emotional harm to others and can have long-lasting effects. It is important they realise the harm their behaviour can cause
  • Work with your child to find a way for them to make amends for the bullying. Talk to them about how it must feel to be bullied. Discuss how they can apologise to the child that they have bullied
  • Try to find out if there is something in particular bothering your child and help them work it out
  • Develop clear and consistent rules within your family for your child’s behaviour. Praise and reinforce your child for following rules and use non-physical, non-hostile consequences if they break the rules
  • Set boundaries and limits. If your child shows any sign of aggressive behaviour, stop it immediately. Help your child find other non-aggressive ways of reacting
  • Teach your child the difference between assertiveness and aggression
  • Talk to your child’s school and let them know your child is making an effort to change his or her behaviour. They may have some helpful suggestions
  • Explain to your child that other children may try and provoke a bully – especially one who is trying to change. If this happens, encourage your child not to respond aggressively and to walk away

Build Social and Emotional Skills

Empower your child to build her skills for resolving conflicts and handling tough situations. Social and emotional learning includes self-awareness, self-management, resilience, social skills and responsible decision-making. Look for after-school programmes and extra-curricular activities that can provide new settings to develop ways to build positive relationships. Improving these skills now, while your child is in school will provide lifelong skills.



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Need to talk?

If you are being bullied or are concerned about someone who is, you can receive help and support from one of our trained Mentors through our e-mentoring service.

If you would like a Mentor to email you, please contact: mentorsonline@bulliesout.com

If you would rather speak to someone over the telephone, you can call Childline on: 0800 1111

For any community-related issues, such as anti-social behaviour, we would suggest contacting your landlord, the local police or your local environmental health department (where applicable), as we are unable to deal with these types of complaints.