How can I support my child?

Although every situation is different, some general advice is provided below.

Preventing bullying

Talk openly with your children about what bullying is and why it happens. Make sure they know who to talk to if bullying becomes an issue for them.

Recognising the signs

It can be difficult to know if your child is being bullied, but the following signs may be linked to bullying:

  • Sudden change in friendship groups
  • Not wanting to go to school or youth setting
  • Being frightened to walk to school or youth setting
  • Sudden ill health (e.g. stomach aches, bed wetting, headaches)
  • ‘Losing’ possessions
  • Hidden injuries
  • A sudden change in behaviour (e.g. becoming withdrawn, anxious, aggressive)

Talking with your child

If you think your child is being bullied, encourage them to talk about it. Listen to what they tell you and ask how you can help.

  • Find somewhere quiet to talk
  • Stay calm
  • Reassure them that it is not their fault that they are being bullied
  • Sensitively try to find out who is involved, how long it has been going on for and what has been happening
  • Discuss together what action should be taken
  • Ask them what they would like to do about it
  • Explain that you will help stop the bullying
  • Contact the school or youth setting to sort it out

Stopping the bullying

Help your child put a stop to the bullying.

  • Encourage them to report the bullying
  • Advise them not to hit back
  • Suggest that they keep a diary of what is happening –this can be shown to the school or youth setting with their permission
  • Work alongside the school or youth setting to help stop the bullying
  • Think of appropriate responses to the bullying your child could use (e.g. saying no assertively, keeping eye contact, walking away)
  • Act out role plays of different ways to ignore the bullying
  • Help raise confidence and self-esteem by praising them for their strengths
  • Find social activities to help them make new friends

Also see where can I find support? and what if my child is bullying others? pages.