How to respond to bullying

Top Tips:

 What parents can do about bullying:

If you are the parent of a child being bullied then you are probably feeling a number of things, including anger, towards the person hurting your child, frustration at how this could have happened and perhaps even helplessness if your child is not talking to you about it.

If you think your child is being bullied then:

  • Keep calm and trust your instincts.
  • Be patient and wait for your child to feel confident enough to tell you what’s wrong. You can help this process by letting them know you want to listen to what they have to say and you want to help.
  • Help your child to develop options.
  • Decide if anyone needs to be contacted about the bullying concerns. It may be helpful if you let the school know of any concerning situations so they can monitor it on school premises.

As parents, we should let our children know that bullying behaviour is not acceptable and we need to support our children as much as possible. As with any form of bullying, it continues only if we are silent about it and do not take positive action in response to it.

 Top Tips for Young People:

Children can respond to bullying behaviours positively by;

  • Letting a trusted adult know what is happening.
  • Don’t fight back physically. You may get hurt or even be considered a bully yourself.
  • Don’t respond to any bullying taunts. Bullies want a reaction so by not giving them one the situation can be diffused.
  • Be assertive without getting aggressive or violent

 What we can do about bullying:

 Often when we talk about bullying we can be unsure of what it actually is. What is it defined as? Bullying can include hurting another person’s feelings and undermining their confidence and self-esteem through words, actions or social exclusion. Generally it has to be repeated also.

Bullying is also very common and can happen anywhere, but we don’t always see it or hear about it.  In 2013, Childline received almost 8,000 calls and online contacts about bullying concerns. It is very important to let your child know that anyone who bullies you is in the wrong. The best thing for your child is to tell a trusted adult about any problems because bullying continues if we stay silent about it and do not react positively. Sit down and explore your child’s feelings about the incident. You may have to contact the school about your concerns so they can monitor the situation too. Parents should remain vigilant about bullying. Show an interest in your child’s life. Ask how their day went and what they might have done. Talk about their friendships and ask how school is going for them.

Bullies need support too. By bullying others, the bully is letting us know something is going wrong for them and we should try to help them to express themselves more positively. Schools, parents, loved ones and friends can all help with this and everyone needs to be proactive in addressing this type of behaviour. Remember, when we don’t take a positive response to bullying, we end up condoning the behaviour.

 Provided by “ISPCC” Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children