How parents can respond

If your child talks to you about bullyingChildren and young people need to know that they are being heard, that their feelings matter​ and that their issue will be investigated respectfully. Bullying should be taken seriously.

Listen calmly and get the full story

Your calm response is important to allow your child to tell you all about the situation. After they've told you their story, ask questions to get more details if you need to: who, what, where, when.

Your first response when a child tells you of a concern can make a difference to the outcome.

Although you may feel some strong emotions about your child's experience, try to keep calm to avoid more distress to your child.

Reassure your child they are not to blame

Many children blame themselves and this may make them feel even worse.

You could say things like, 'That sounds really hard to deal with. No one should have to put up with that.' or 'I'm so glad you told me. You should be able to feel safe at school; that's not fair at all'.

Ask your child what they want to do and what they want you to do

A critical part of your response is to avoid jumping in to solve the problem.

While it is natural to want to protect your child, helping them to find their own solution is a better option. It helps them feel they have some power in the situation.

Learn some strategies to talk about with your child

These pages provide tips and ideas for different bullying situations. One idea is to practise strategies at home to help your child feel more confident.

If your child is being bullied
If your child is bullying others
If your child has seen bullying

Watch the Quick Tips for Parents videos by Dr Michael Carr-Gregg for more ideas.

Contact the school

Your child may be reluctant for you to do this, so discuss the idea and reassure them that the school would want to know and is able to help.

Make an appointment to meet with your child's teacher and, if you need to, ask to talk with the principal. Contact the school immediately if you have a concern about your child's safety. Read more about Parents and schools working together.

Check in regularly with your child

Keep the conversation going. It can take time to resolve issues, so check in regularly with your child about their experiences and their feelings. Your ongoing support is important.