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Tips to help if your child is using bullying behaviours

Sometimes a student who bullies other children in one situation may themselves be bullied in another.

Try to understand why they may be behaving in this way.

Think about any issues or problems your child might be experiencing.

A consistent and co-operative approach by both the home and school is important.

Decide if there should be consequences at home too. Explain these to your child and that the consequences are linked to their behaviour.

Ensure your child does not hear criticism from you about the school's management of the issue.

Take any issues directly to the school staff you have been working with.

Does your child see good examples of how to deal with issues and resolve differences with others at home?

Have any major events taken place recently to upset your child (parents separated, death in the family, significant illness in the family, siblings bullying your child)?

Increase supervision of your child when they are with other children.

For younger children, show them how to join in with other children in a friendly way:

  • first observe a game and the other children
  • look for a natural break in the game for joining in
  • choose a person with a friendly face and ask them if you can join in
  • praise your child when they play cooperatively with others.

Help them understand what it is like for the person being bullied.

Ask them how they would feel if they were being bullied.

Acknowledge appropriate behaviour and be consistent when dealing with inappropriate behaviour.

Consider enrolling your child in a group program that helps children to manage their behaviour, learn appropriate social skills and relate in more positive ways with other people.

Seek professional help and support if you feel that your child's bullying behaviour is part of a bigger behavioural or health problem. Further information is available at Who should I tell?

Bullying: Parent guide to helping children manage conflict, aggression and bullying  Includes steps for parents to deal with children who are bullying others (Australian Psychological Society ).