My child is bullying others

Moody girl on steps

Bullying is a behaviour, not a personality type. If your child has been accused of bullying others, or you have seen them showing bullying behaviour, 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 find out what is happening from their perspective. 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 a child's behaviour doesn't happen overnight. It takes dedication, patience and support.

Get help

If things don't improve, you may wish to seek professional advice. This could be from your GP, Young Minds or a local youth counsellor.

Moving forward

  • Praise your child for ways they help and support other people and the things that go right
  • Check in daily
  • Show interest and concern - help your child understand his/her feelings.
  • 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 then seek help.
  • If your child is active and a natural leader, get them to use their power in a positive way - for example by sticking up for younger children or those that find school hard. Talk to their teacher about useful ways to divert excess energy at school, for example getting equipment ready, putting out chairs, etc.
  • Encourage them to choose respect - use our resource to learn more.

Working with the school

A good school will take action against bullying behaviour so they have done the right thing by letting you know they have concerns. 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 find a way forward and ensure the best outcome for all involved.

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 support them in stopping any behaviour that is causing concern.

Be clear on next steps

Ask the school how it wishes to proceed, 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

If there is information about your child that would be helpful to aid in a better understanding of the situation, explain this to the school.

Follow up and monitor

Arrange a meeting with the school to discuss how the bullying will be monitored and how you will be informed of any further incidents. Ask for regular updates.

Parent Advice Line

Guidance and support for parents and carers of children facing a bullying situation. Call 020 7823 5430 (Mon-Weds from 9:30am to 2:30pm, calls charged at local rate) or alternatively you can email our adviser.

Find out more

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