The many faces of bullying and how you can help

Bullying – that pesky thing that has lingered in schools from day dot. Despite decade’s worth of research and the attention placed on it in schools today, bullying still continues to be a real issue. Primary school kids are more educated than ever on what bullying is, but sometimes kids (and their parents and teachers) can still find themselves stuck in knowing how to deal with it. As a result, children’s wellbeing can be significantly compromised.

Below are some tips to consider if you find your child caught up in the tangled web of bullying.

If your child reports they are being bullied….

  • Be supportive. Give your child the time to express themselves and listen to their story.
  • Build a positive relationship with your child’s teacher and be in regular contact with him or her. Be mindful that your child may not have told their teacher about bullying incidents.
  • Promote positive problem solving behaviours to keep them safe.
  • Promote self-soothing/relaxation strategies to cope with the stress.
  • Encourage your child to widen their friendship network.

If your child has been involved in bullying incidences….

  • Question and explore what is triggering this behaviour. Is this behaviour out of character? Has your child recently gone through a stressful time? Have there been changes at home? Has your child developed age-appropriate social skills?
  • Help develop your child’s empathy skills. Some ways of developing this might be through reflecting on past experiences or analysing characters behaviours and feelings in books and movies.

If your child reports they witnessed bullying happen….

  • Be supportive and listen to their story. Be mindful that your child may be negatively affected by witnessing the bullying. For example, they may have felt a sense of helplessness towards the victim, or possibly felt sadness by seeing someone get hurt.
  • Encourage positive helping behaviours.
  • Encourage your child to report any incidences to the teachers at school.

Bullying is a complex issue and unfortunately there is no quick fix. Working together with the school, and understanding your child’s needs will help lead to a resolution. If you are finding your child is going through a challenging time in regards to bullying, contact one of our psychologists who can give you and your child strategies to work through these challenging times.

Emma Trifiletti


Sensational Kids

Emma works at both our Ormond and Moonee Ponds sites and is part of our Psychology team available to help children involved in bullying incidents.