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Help & Information

Talking To Your Child

It can be very upsetting when your child is being bullied. Talk to them and focus on identifying a solution with them. It is possible they will feel out of control, concerned and confused. Explain that bullying behaviour is unacceptable and no-one has to put up with it.

Let them know that you want to help and will do all you can to stop it. Be clear that for the bullying to stop, it will be necessary for their school to become involved. Encourage your child to talk about it and what has been happening. It will help if they keep a journal in which they can write about the bullying behaviour and record when and where it happened and who was involved. Click here to download a copy of our ‘bullying behaviour incident log’.

If your child seems reluctant to talk, it is okay to ask gentle ‘open’ questions to help you find out more information. Ask questions such as, “What happened? Who was involved? How did that make you feel?” to draw your child out. This will enable you to  find out more about the bullying behaviour and what has been happening to your child.  Try to remain calm and listen to your child in a non-judgmental way.  As a parent, your instinctive response to your child opening up might be to give way to your thoughts and try to solve the problem.  Let them do the talking and try to refrain from interrupting. Honoring their voice and ownership over their experience can be very empowering for them.

Once your child has finished sharing what has been happening to them, take a moment to absorb what you’ve heard. It may be painful, heart-wrenching, or it may leave you feeling infuriated. Remain calm and discuss, with your child, what steps they want to take next.

Your child may tell you that they want to try and deal with the bullying themselves. If they do, discuss some strategies with them and set a short period of time to see if they can resolve the situation. Coping skills can help children deal with bullying situations.

Encourage your child to:

  • Try to act unimpressed or unaffected
  • Use other strategies, such as fogging (agreeing in an offhand way with the bullying when they say offensive or negative things), to diffuse the situation
  • Say ‘No!’ in a firm voice
  • Talk to their teacher or another staff member
  • Act confident even when they don’t feel it.

Practice some strategies at home with your child to help them to:

  • Stand and walk in a way that appears more confident
  • Give a quick reply to surprise the other child
  • Use a routine response (such as, OK, whatever) that implies that your child is not bothered.

A confident, positive and resilient appearance can stop bullying from continuing.

Discuss what doesn’t work with bullying:

  • Fighting back*
  • Bullying the bully
  • Ignoring it
  • Hanging out with a different friendship group
  • Remaining silent and hoping the bullying will go away.

*Do not encourage your child to fight back with the other child. Fighting with the other child can escalate the situation and your child may be reprimanded for their part in a fight.

Make an appointment to see your child’s teacher as soon as possible and explain what has been happening.

Remember that coping with something like bullying is very stressful. Try and take time for yourself and talk things over with a friend or member of your family.

Build Social and Emotional Skills

Whether your child is being bullied or is bullying someone, connecting with a counsellor may help your child’s healing process. We know the thought of going to a counsellor may worry your child at first. If that happens, talk your child through the different options for resources and remind them that there is nothing wrong with seeking help. In fact, it builds a stronger sense of self.

Through fostering open and honest conversations about bullying behaviour with your child, you will instill confidence in them, empowering them to stand strong for themselves and others and to trust you to help them along the way.

Young children may struggle to talk about emotions and feelings that are part of everyday life. Using books and stories can always help with this. Wonderfully written by Author, Clare Luther and aimed at children aged 3 – 8 years old, Head 2 Heart Books  are beautifully illustrated rhyming books that are relatable and well researched. Each story will help children explore their thoughts and feelings, offering them useful ways to think their emotions through and get conversations started.

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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.