Helping your child respond to bullying

We talk about ways you can support your child while bullying issues are resolved. Listen to our full Dealing with Bullying podcast series.


You can help your child learn positive ways to respond to bullying.

  • Explain that it is best not to hit, swear or fight back. They will get into trouble or maybe hurt more.
  • Ask your child what they would like you to do about it and offer strategies and solutions you think are appropriate. Agree together the way forward.  
  • Draw a map of the school and ask your child to colour in different areas to show how safe they feel at school. For example, green for safe and red for unsafe. This will help teachers know where your child feels most relaxed.
  • Use role-play to teach your child appropriate and safe responses and reactions and practice these with them. This can help your child manage times in the day and areas of the school where they feel less confident.
  • Tell them it is ok to tell a teacher, school staff or other adult about the bullying. Talk to your child and agree who that should be together
  • Work on social skills and help them to read facial expressions, body language and tone of voice. This can help your child to manage situations with their peers better, help make friends and stay positive.  

Tips for building confidence and self-esteem

Another way to support your child is to work on building their confidence.

  • Emphasise your child's strengths - be as specific as possible. When your child feels a sense of accomplishment and pride in their ability to do something, they will have more confidence to persevere when they face challenges.
  • Give your child a chance to contribute - to a conversation, to family chores or to planning a fun family activity. This shows your faith in their abilities and helps give them a sense of responsibility.
  • Help them to make friends and invite other children into your home.
  • Talk about what a good friend is - a good friend is kind, shares and listens; not someone who hurts others or makes them sad.
  • Encourage your child to be a good friend too.
  • Treat any mistakes as learning experiences.

More suggestions from parents and resources are included in our parent guide Dealing with bullying.

Remember to let your child know:

  • they are loved
  • it is ok to be different
  • they have the right to be happy and safe
  • that you believe what they tell you
  • that no matter what happens you still care for them.

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