What parent’s must know about bullying to protect your children

Kids being bullied

Children who are made to feel less confident than their peers are more likely to experience bullying. The behaviour is intentional and aggressive and involves an imbalance of power or strength. It can happen in many ways, such as when a child is called names, threatened, or teased repeatedly and in a way that makes them feel bad, or when a child is excluded from a group, or when a child is the target of threats, such as being told they will be hurt or left alone if they don’t do something. Children who are being bullied may not tell anyone because they don’t understand what is happening, or they might not know how or who to tell.


Bullying can take many forms, including:

  • Physical (hitting, punching, beating)
  • Verbal (teasing, name calling, threats)
  • Emotional (intimidation using gestures, social exclusion, threats)
  • Sexual
  • Racist Bullying can take many forms, including:
  • Physical (hitting, punching, beating)
  • Verbal (teasing, name calling, threats)
  • Emotional (intimidation using gestures, social exclusion, threats)


Warning signs that your child is being bullied

When children are being bullied, it’s important to recognize the warning signs. Some of the most common signs include:

  • Not attending school/playground

Warning signs your child is being bullied

  • Withdrawal from friends and family and avoid social contact
  • Child comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings
  • Withdrawn, irritable or moody
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Withdrawal to bedroom or playing alone
  • Unexplained cuts or bruises, particularly in the area of the chest, belly, neck, head, arms, or legs

cuts and bruises

  • Fear of being alone or sleeping alone
  • Fear of being home alone
  • Fear of or anxiety about going to school
  • Loss of appetite
  • Frequent bad dreams
  • Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomach aches or other physical ailments
  • Takes a long out of the way route when walking to or from school
  • Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, taking the taxi or taking part in organized activities with peers

bully trying to punch

Why your child does not ask for help.


  • They feel helpless in the situation and face huge embarrassment. They feel will be seen as weak if they complain especially boys.
  • Children could also fear how adults will react to a complaint and feel totally overwhelmed. They fear they may be blamed for being weak.
  • Kids will be scared of any backlash from the person doing the bullying. They afraid as they will see the bully again.
  • Child feels isolated in school and at home.
  • Children also fear being alienated from their peers who are also often scared of the bully.


Emotionally, you might notice a change in your child’s mood. He or she might seem unusually anxious, nervous, upset, unhappy, down, teary, angry, withdrawn, or secretive. These changes might be more obvious at the end of the weekend or the end of a school holiday. But these changes can also happen anytime, even when there’s no obvious trigger.

Whilst these may be signs of being bullied, they could be signs of other issues, like depression. But you should take these signs seriously. If you’re concerned, speak to the teacher, GP or another health professional.

girl bullying another girl

two boys bullying small boy

What do you do as a Parent?

If your child is being bullied, you want to act to help stop it, if possible. You can help your child cope with teasing, bullying, or mean gossip, and lessen its lasting impact. And even if bullying isn’t an issue right in your house right now, it’s important to discuss it so your kids will be prepared if it does happen.


Your child is finally ready to open up about the bullying they’ve been experiencing. When your child comes to you with news of being bullied,


  • You should praise your child for doing the right thing by talking to you about it.
  • Remind your child that they’re not alone — a lot of people get bullied at some point. Explain that it’s the bully who is behaving badly, not your child. It can be hard to hear, but your child needs to understand that it’s not their fault and that it’s not something they should feel ashamed about.
  • You should stay calm and try to keep your emotions under control. This is a great opportunity to show your child how to solve problems and deal with stress. If you feel angry or anxious, try to wait until you feel calm before you talk with your child or others. This will help you to think clearly and help you to be more helpful to your child. It took a lot for your child to talk to you.
  • Help your child frame the correct sequence of events so that the magnitude of the problem can be understood. Prompt him through the sequence by asking “what happened after that….” What happened when …”. Your child will be all emotional about this and erratic in his explanations, so calmly keep the sequencing in order.
  • Listen to your child. Really pay attention to what they have to say and let them know they can count on you to help them deal with this difficult situation. Give them your full attention, and try to find a quiet space where your child feels comfortable spilling their feelings. Let them know that you are here to listen and that they can tell you anything without being judged.
  • Tell your child that it’s OK to be upset and to feel angry. What happened is not their fault. Reassure them that they are still loved and cared for, and that you will figure out a way to deal with the matter.
  • You can say ‘It’s definitely not right or OK for someone to treat you like that’ You may also want to set aside some time to talk about what happened and how you are going to handle it as a family.
  • You can also say that now you understand why he/she behaved in a particular way and that’s understandable.
  • You can praise your child for having the courage to talk to you about being bullied.

Kids being bullied

Tell them how proud you are of them for standing up for what’s right. You can also discuss how you’ll handle these types of issues from now on to keep your child safe. It’s important to teach your children how to protect themselves from being bullied, and how to stand up for themselves.


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