Bullying is a serious issue that can have devastating effects on the lives of children. Most of the time it happens at school when we’re not there to see it. Schools have policies and procedures around bullying, but if your child was being bullied at school, would they know what to do about it?
Understand what bullying is
Make sure your child has a clear idea of what bullying is. Sometimes kids argue or fight about things, but this is not the same as being bullied. Bullying is when someone:
- Is mean to you, again and again, to try to make you feel bad
- Tries to stop you from joining in activities with friends or attempts to make others not like you
- Hurts you physically – such as hitting or punching
Talk to someone
If your child is being bullied, encourage them to talk to someone about it. Children don’t always want to talk to their parent or carer about bullying issues, but it’s critical they talk to someone they feel comfortable with. They might talk to their friends or a teacher at school or use a service like Kids Helpline. If the issue becomes serious, it might need to be escalated to the principal or police.
Try some strategies to deal with it
Knowing some strategies for dealing with bullying is useful. Your child could try ignoring the behaviour, walking away, using strong and assertive language to ask the bully to stop or asking friends for help. If your child feels like they are in danger or can’t deal with the bullying on their own, they should report the behaviour to a trusted adult straight away.
Be careful online
Of course, bullying doesn’t only happen in the playground anymore. Cyberbullying is also common and is even more difficult for children to deal with as there’s no escape from it. If your child is being bullied at school, they might also face the same issue online. Children often hide online bullying from adults because they fear losing access to their online world. Ensure your child knows you won’t take away their devices if bullying occurs, but you will do everything you can to make them feel safe
As an adult, it’s important you take any disclosure of bullying seriously. Don’t minimise the behaviour or brush it off as children playing. For advice and resources about dealing with bullying, head to Bullying. No Way! or The Bully Project.