My child is bullying others

Moody girl on steps

If you are concerned your child may have bullied another child, don’t panic! Help is at hand.

First steps

Talk calmly with your child

Find a quiet moment, in a private space and talk with your child about your concerns.

Gather information

Explain that you have been told about/have seen a bullying situation and you want to hear what they have to share with you about the incident or situation. Listen carefully to what they are saying.

Make it clear that bullying behaviour hurts other people and that it has to stop.

Reflect

  • Is your child learning this behaviour from what they see in school or at home?
  • Are they struggling with their own confidence or feelings of self worth?
  • Have they experienced bullying themselves and this may be a reaction?
  • Are they worried about a problem at home such as a pet dying, parents fighting or separating?
  • Is there anything going on in their life that you think might be hard for them to deal with?

Supporting your child

Helping them understand the impact

Help your child to understand how what they did, or are doing is hurting others.

Empathy

Discuss the situation from the other child’s perspective. Encourage your child to think about how it would have made them feel.

Encourage them to talk about their concerns and fears

Find out if there are other concerns and fears behind their behaviour.

Problem solve

Work through scenarios and what could they do differently. See if you can find the root cause of their behaviour and brainstorm ways of managing the underlying problems.

Look for ways of “putting things right” with the other child or children

Focus on solutions.

Be realistic

Understand that changing behaviour doesn't happen overnight. It takes dedication, patience and support.

Get help

If things don't improve, you may wish to seek further help. You can contact the Kidscape Parent Advice whether your child is experiencing bullying, or if they are bullying others. If you are concerned about your child's mental health and/or their behaviour you could also speak to your GP.

Moving forward

  • Give positive feedback when they help and support other people 
  • Check in daily
  • Show interest and concern - help your child understand their feelings and emotions
  • Make time to spend with your child each day - read with your child or tell family stories. Create a warm and secure home environment.
  • Be careful about how you talk and behave towards others. Remember your children are always watching you. Try to be patient, respectful and kind in your interactions with others, even if times are hard. If you are struggling with your own feelings of anger or resentment, or home does not feel like a safe place then seek help. If you are experiencing violence in the home then the NHS website has details of organisations who can support.
  • If your child is active and a natural leader, get them to use their power in a positive way - for example by supporting other children as a buddy or peer mentor. Talk to their teacher about useful ways to divert excess energy at school, for example helping the teacher by getting equipment ready, putting out chairs, supporting other children, etc.
  • Encourage your child to develop respectful relationships - use our resource to learn more.

Working with the school

A good school will investigate potential concerns about bullying behaviour so they have done the right thing in sharing this with you.  It’s natural to be defensive about your own child, but stay calm, listen, and be clear you want to work with the school to resolve the situation.

Listen

Listen carefully to what is being said. Write everything down for reference.

Ask them to explain anything you don’t understand

Repeat back what you have heard to ensure you have understood the situation.

Offer assurance

Let the school know that you take the matter seriously and will work with them to resolve the situation.

Be clear on next steps

Ask the school what next steps will be, and discuss ways in which you can work together. Request a copy of the anti-bullying policy and procedures to ensure you are best informed about the process.

Provide information

Share any information that may be helpful with the school.

Arrange a time to check in

Arrange a time to check in on how things are going and whether you need to take any further action together.

Parent Advice Line

Guidance and support for parents and carers 

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