Bullying: Worried your child is being bullied?

Bullying is a very serious problem and upsetting for both you and your child. Children may find it hard to talk about being bullied or bullying others, and you may not be sure that your child is being bullied. But there are some signs that may suggest there is a problem. Look out for:

  • excuses to miss school, such as stomach complaints or headaches (or your child may be skipping school altogether)
  • torn clothes, school things that are missing or broken, or lost money
  • more bruises and scrapes than usual
  • signs of stress – being moody,silent or crying, or bullying a younger sibling or friend
  • bed wetting (in younger children)
  • a change in eating habits.

There could be other reasons for these symptoms, so try to avoid jumping to conclusions. Is there anything else bothering your child? Have there been changes in your family like a new baby, a divorce or a separation?

Encourage your child to talk about bullying. Let them know that no child deserves to be bullied and that threats, verbal abuse, racist, homophobic or sexist name-calling, being left out and ignored or any harassment, are all forms of bullying. Physical bullying includes kicking and hitting.

What to do when bullying is a problem

  • Listen and talk to your child. They may feel out of control and ashamed – whether they are being bullied or bullying. Let them know you love them and want to help.
  • Be clear that it is important for the bullying to stop and that the school will need to be involved.
  • If your child is bullying others, think about what might be behind it – are they trying to get attention or fit in with the crowd, or are they unaware of how they are hurting others?
  • Talk to the school as soon as possible.
  • If you think things are not getting better, ask to see the school’s anti-bullying policy and make an appointment to see the headteacher.
  • Encourage your child to keep a journal in which they can draw pictures or write about the bullying – this can help to release painful feelings and will be a record of what happened and when it happened.
  • Take care of yourself. Coping with your child’s bullying may be very stressful, especially if it brings back memories of your own experiences. Try to take time for yourself or talk over what you feel with a friend or another family member.



Page last reviewed: 21/04/2022

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