In recent times I have been holding some workshops on bullying and resilience.

My aim is to educate and equip kids; teach them what it is, what we need to do, how to deal with situations etc.  

Knowledge is power.  

Knowledge also helps reduce feelings of anxiety.

I have also noticed some parents and caregivers have some questions about bullying.  

To be honest with you, I prefer not to use the term bullying, but it’s a term so well known,  so I stick with it for the purpose of familiarity and simplicity. 

If I could call my workshops “resilience” I would, but then parents and participants may not realise that its specifically useful for bullying.

Let me hand you some basic knowledge so that you too can have the power of familiarity and understanding:

Bullying can be:

  • Verbal
  • Exclusion
  • Threats
  • Malicious rumours
  • Physical violence
  • Damage to property
  • Cyber bullying (often from jealousy or because the bully lacks confidence, self worth, and more)
  • Anti-social (e.g. gossip) 
  • Bullying affects confidence and self esteem
  • Children who are bullied need lots of love, guidance and support
  • If your child is being bullied, and speaks to you, you need to:
    • Listen
    • Stay calm
    • Summarise the issue to show you understand
    • Reinforce to your child that its normal to feel upset
    • Make sure your child understands it’s not his or her fault
    • Agree that there is a problem
    • Praise your child for speaking about it
    • Show your child that you will help
    • Keep your comments positive (avoid negative statements)
  • Talk with your child’s teacher (be assertive and end with a plan)
  • Your child may not want you to talk with the teacher but you are the best person to decide what is best for your child
  • Keep a record of what happens and when.  You may need to speak with the principal, seek the schools grievance procedure, meet with the school board, or perhaps seek further advice from the schools regional office (these are further steps)
  • Sometimes you may need to move schools where they have better procedures for addressing bullying
  • In extreme cases you may need support outside the school especially if there is violence and criminal behaviour: 
    • Get legal advice
    • Involve police
    • Apply for a restraining order at the children’s court
    • Make a complaint to the ombudsman via the education department
  • Ideas for children to cope with bullying:
    • Ignore and move away
    • Tell the bully to stop
    • Keep away from places it happens
    • Stay around other people
    • Ask other kids for help
    • Tell the teacher 
  • Ok, so what if your child is doing the bullying:
    • Explain to your child what bullying is
    • Help them understand what it does to others
    • Keep tabs on their use of the internet and mobile phone
    • Talk to the school or organisation where it is happening, and it is important to support their decision.
    • Try determine why the bullying is happening?
      • Is your child being bullied too?
      • Is your child joining in bullying to avoid being bullied him or herself?
      • Is your child viewing bullying in other settings such as TV, online etc?
      • Does your child feel more powerful by bullying?
      • Is your child trying to stand up for him or herself in the wrong way?
  • Tips if your child keeps bullying:
    • Create a behaviour contract
    • Counselling

We need to teach our children how to get along with others, to show empathy, respect and care for others, and themselves.  

Don’t forget to be a role model for your child.

Give your child lots of positive attention.  

Appropriate discipline works too, and don’t forget to manage your own conflicts well.

Ok kids, if bullying has already started:

  1. Talk about it
  2. Remove the bait e.g lunch money
  3. Buddy with someone so that you feel safe
  4. Stay calm, and soldier on
  5. Don’t fight the battle yourself

What should you do if you know another kid is being bullied?

  • Tell an adult, a teacher or school counsellor
  • Be friendly to the kid who is being bullied.  He or she is likely to feel lonely and left out.  Your friendship is important.  Also friendship helps prevent bullying.

Teach your child tolerance

Tolerance is an attitude.  It respects differences that exist amongst different people.

Tolerance is the opposite of prejudice.

Give kids opportunities to work and play with others who are different from them

Tolerance means treating others the way you wish to be treated.

As parents, notice your own attitudes; remember kids are always listening.  Discuss unfair situations, answer kids questions honestly and respectfully.  

Remember, tolerance DOES NOT MEAN tolerating unacceptable behaviour.

Bullying is one of the reasons kids leave school and contact help lines.

I hope this was an easy read, I kept it simple and friendly.  There is definitely a lot more information in much more detail out there if you are interested.

Good luck, now your too are more equipped with knowledge about bullying.  And if you already knew this stuff, I hope its given you more confidence about the knowledge that you already know.


Amanda Dounis

Well done to all those families who bring their kids to my workshops.  

As for the little ones (under 5 years) we also teach resilience and knowledge about bullying in preparation for “big” school, at our child care centres.  We are never too young to learn…