2 min video
8 min read

My child might have bullied someone

- Give them your help and understanding so they can stop

Things you can try

  1. Take a moment to process the shock you could be feeling

    We all know how dreadful bullying can be, so of course it’s a shock to be told that your child is bullying other children. Even though it’s really hard, you need to try not to deny it. As you work on managing how you feel, try and listen carefully to what the teacher or other parent is telling you.

    You could say “I am so sorry. Let me speak to X and try and get to the bottom of what is going on. Can we get together again tomorrow and work out how to stop this happening again”.

  2. Get ready to talk to your child

    You’re going to need to be very clear about what bullying looks like, so you can explain it to them. You’ll need to help them understand how the bullied child will be feeling. And you’ll need to be ready to help them change their behaviour.

  3. Talk and listen as much as you can

    Sit down with your child and listen carefully to their side of the story. Try questions like “what is going on with you and Y?”

    Help your child realise how what they have done will have upset the person being bullied. Ask them “what do you think it was like for Y when you did that?”

    Encourage your child to open up to you about any problems they might have. Try saying “sometimes people bully others because they’re unhappy themselves, or some people do it because they want to look strong or cool in front of their friends”

    Don’t worry if these are difficult conversations. Your child probably not going to willingly admit they were wrong to start off with. That’s natural, take it gently.

  4. Help your child get ready to make amends

    This is a chance to build on your conversations so far. Talk to them about the power of kindness and the strength in being a good friend.

    “I think maybe you don’t know how powerful you are. You can use that power in a good way you know?”

    Be firm – you expect them to make amends. But be supportive as well - they’re learning to be a better person.

    You could get support from the school for this.

  5. Don’t forget to reassure your child

    Bullying is wrong, but just because they bullied someone, that doesn’t make them a bad person. Remind them that all of us have the power to hurt people, and we all need help to learn the power to make things better.

    For more information, 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.

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