My child is being bullied. What can I do?
- Help your child to feel more in control
Things you can try
Acknowledge your own feelings
It is normal to feel a range of feelings when you find out that your child is being bullied. This could include feeling angry, anxious, frustrated or saddened by this news. Try to talk with someone who can help you to process these difficult feelings. It is normal for your child to have a range of feelings also.
Listen and understand
Bullying can include things like hitting, threatening, unkind teasing and leaving someone out on purpose. Thinking about your child experiencing any of this can be really painful. But it’s important to put your feelings to one side.
Try to listen rather than react. Sit down with your child and let them know you are listening. You can do that by repeating back what they’ve told you.
Help them understand what bullying means. When a child falls out with their friends it can be painful and difficult, but it is different from bullying. And it’s important to make the distinction between rude and mean behaviour and bullying. Bullying behaviour is intended to hurt someone AND repeated.
Reassure your child that it’s not their fault.
There is still a stigma around bullying. Children can feel like they’ve done something to deserve it. You can help them see that’s not true and that bullying should always be called out.
Try saying, “You are very brave for telling me. None of this is your fault. What you’ve been going through sounds horrible, all children deserve to feel safe at school”.
Help your child to come up with ideas about how to make things better.
If your child is being bullied their behaviour may change. For example, they may be quieter or angrier than usual. Or they might fall behind or not want to go to school.
If we work with them to find a solution, we can help them to feel like they are more in control of the situation.
Ask your child: "What would you like me to do to make this better/to help?" rather than just taking over. Including them in decisions will avoid more stress and worry for them.
Celebrate your child’s strengths and differences.
Help them see they are unique and fantastic just the way they are. Look for activities that will boost their confidence and self-esteem. This will help them keep the bullying in perspective. And it’s a chance to make new friends.
Make an appointment to talk to someone at school.
You can’t do this on your own. Make an appointment to talk to someone at school so you can think things through together.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance has lots of specialist advice for parents and a list of sources of support.
Your child is unique and we hope there are some takeaways here that work for you. If you’re looking for help parenting children with additional needs, you can get specific advice from specialist organisations. Check out our list of support that we can recommend.
How did we do today?
Please give us a thumbs up or down to let us know if we helped you.
Read more on this topic
My child is feeling sad or low2 min video7 min read
My child has friendship issues2 min video5 min read
Building listening skills for parents2 min video6 min read