What should I do if my child is being bullied?

Your child wouldn’t be normal if they weren’t a little upset when made fun of or harassed by other kids. Teaching your child to show self-confidence and not to overreact or retaliate, may discourage future attacks when the bullies realise their behaviour has little to no effect. However, if threats escalate to physical violence, this is unacceptable and your child should be encouraged to seek help from a teacher or an adult.

There are three types of bullying.
1) Face-to-face which often takes place in the school playground or after school on the way home
2) Cyberbullying which is conducted through text, social media and email.
3) Passive bullying, where the other children aren’t making physical threats, but they are going out of their way to exclude them from activities and extracurricular events.

Tips to handle face-to-face bullying

Bullies target children tend to harass easy targets, children who are different, may lack self-confidence or are too scared to stand up for themselves. If the bullying is mostly empty threats or name-calling, encourage your child to be firm and to calmly tell the bully to “Leave me alone.”

Back away from the situation, particularly if there is the chance of injury. Once at a safe distance, your child should find a teacher or another adult. Running away can make the bullying child feel as if they have the power.

If the bullying continues to be an issue, raise it with the school principal or at a school board meeting.

Tips to handle cyberbullying

Where children are receiving threatening messages, it’s important to let them know they can show you and won’t get into trouble. Look into ways you can block unwanted messages.

If messages are from an unknown source and of a threatening or sexual nature, report it to the police.

Tips to handle passive bullying

Being left out can be extremely hurtful. This behaviour comes typically from girls, boys tend to lean towards being physical.

One way to overcome passive bullying is to help your child expand their social circles by introducing them to sports, music or become part of a movement like scouts, girl guides or joeys.

Plan fun family events and keep your child too occupied to care that he/she didn’t get an invitation to a birthday party.