What To Do If Your Child Is Involved In A Bullying Incident

What To Do If Your Child Is Involved In A Bullying Incident

What to do if your child is involved in a bullying incident

If you learn or suspect that your child has been involved in a bullying situation, your first step is to sit down and truly listen to them. Don’t jump to conclusions, don’t judge them, don’t start assigning blame and don’t let your emotions hamper your ability to gather all the facts. All parents have a strong protective instinct but the best starting point to help your child deal with bullying is calmness.

Ask them what they would like you to do to help (their wishes may be totally different to yours). Give them a say in the problem-solving process. Don’t dismiss their concerns as unimportant – it may have been difficult for them to build up the courage to talk to you about what happened and they’re looking to you for support.

If the bullying incident happened at school:

  • Make an appointment with school staff – don’t arrive unexpectedly
  • List the facts you know: the who, where, when, names of witnesses, whether this was a one-off or repeated behaviour, etc.
  • Don’t accuse the school – this may be the first they’ve heard of the incident
  • Work with the school (not against them) to try to find a solution
  • Be patient – give school staff time to gather all the information they need to investigate what happened and why
  • Self-educate about what bullying is (and isn’t)

Every school has an anti-bullying policy but their options for dealing with incidents may vary. These can include warnings, speaking to the bully’s parents, internal exclusion (within school) and either permanent or fixed term exclusion from school.

It helps to keep a bullying diary, documenting each incident as soon as possible after it occurs and including all pertinent facts. If your child has been injured, take photos. If the bullying was physical, you may need to involve a doctor or even the police. The school should be made aware of any short-term or long-term physical/emotional effects on your child from the incident(s).

If you feel the need to talk to someone about your child’s bullying situation, you can contact Lifeline, Kids Helpline, Headspace or Relationships Australia.

For more information on this topic, visit www.bullyology.com

Jessica Hickman

Jessica is the founder of Bullyology and driver of The Upstander Movement. She is a speaker, educator, coach, and consultant with a core focus on empowering others to own their ability to speak out and in turn become champions of change.

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