If your child is being bullied
If your child is bullying others
If your child is a bystander to bullying
Helpful Websites

Most bullying happens behind the backs of adults.

Children who are targeted may keep their plight a secret because they feel ashamed, or believe that an adult will not help them. Bullying may persist if adults don’t take bullying seriously, or if they turn a blind eye when it happens. There are lots of excuses for why adults remain uninformed, but they’re not good excuses.

Try asking your child howwasyourday by using some of these openers:

What was the best thing/worst thing that happened?

Who do you spend time with at school? What are they like?

Do you get along with people at school?

How do you treat other children?

What is it like on the bus/on the school yard/on the walk to and from school?

How would you describe bullying? What is it like?

What happens in the school hallways or in the lunchroom?

Does anyone you know get picked on at school? What do you think about it?

Do any kids you know get mean emails or messages? What would you
do if you got one?

If your child is being bullied…

It can be upsetting to discover that your child is being bullied, but it is important that you stay positive, validate feelings and show support. Recognize that being bullied is not your child’s fault. Explain this to your child. Being targeted doesn’t mean they’re any less of a person. They’re a great kid who just happens to be in a crummy situation.

Watch for signs that your child is being bullied, such as reluctance to attend school, anxiety, a decrease in confidence, withdrawal, torn clothing or missing belongings.

Recognize that transition periods in your child’s schooling can be prime times for bullying to occur. The beginning of the school year, starting at a new school or moving up to junior high or high school are times when children seek to establish dominance.

If your child is being targeted, make sure they know that it isn't their fault.

Ask your child how he/she has been dealing with the bullying. Brainstorm ideas together about what can be done.

Ask them how you can help them, and be sensitive to what they have to say. Reassure them that you will consult them before you take any action.

Express your concerns to your child’s teachers and work with them to address the issue.

Try a buddy system. If the bullying is occurring on the way to school, arrange for your child to travel with a group or older, supportive children.

If your child is timid or has few friends, consider organizing involvement in positive social groups that encourage social interaction.

Discuss bullying with other parents to get ideas that have helped others.

Tell your child not to react. Explain that children who bully want a reaction, so the best thing to do is follow these 4 footsteps. Consider practicing some scenarios with your child to build confidence.

Tell your child not to fight fire with fire. Getting physical or bullying back gives the child who is bullying the satisfaction of a reaction. The best thing for your child to do is hang out with other kids, avoid problem situations and get help from an adult.

Involve them in extra-curricular activities

If your child is bullying others…

It may come as a shock that your child is picking on other kids, but it’s important to focus on changing the behavior and helping your child develop empathy.

Find out how and why your child has been bullying. Remember that children will often try to deny or downplay their bullying.

Do not accept the explanation that “it was all in fun.” Make it clear that you will not tolerate such behavior and help your child understand how hurtful these actions are.

Focus on how the behavior is unacceptable, not the child.

Spend quality time with your child and set a good example by avoiding teasing or being overly critical. Being a good role model teaches positive ways of interacting; being a negative role model can actually encourage bullying behaviors.

If disciplining your child for bullying, come up with a fair, effective, non-violent consequence. Avoid punishment that sends the message that might-is-right.

Increase supervision of your child by setting reasonable rules around activities and curfew. Do you always know their whereabouts?

Teach your child to treat people who are different with kindness and respect. Explain that everyone has rights and feelings. Talk about why differences should be embraced, not ridiculed.

Catch your child engaging in positive behavior and encourage these behaviors. Do this regularly.

Find out if your child’s friends are also bullying. If you discover that they are, take the responsibility to inform the school and seek intervention.

Brainstorm with your child a list of positive ways to relate to peers, deal with anger and feel included.

Talk with your child’s teachers and ask how they can help to change the negative behavior.

Involve them in volunteer and extra-curricular activities.

If your child is a bystander to bullying…

Encourage your child to take a stand. When a bystander intervenes, Bullying usually stops within 10 seconds.

Ask your child what it feels like to see a child being picked on.

Suggest that your child talk to friends about bullying. A group of bystanders that rejects bullying can be very effective in ending the problem. Tell your child that bullying may stop when there is no audience for it.

Remind your child that bullying is not just hitting and kicking. It can be social, verbal or cyber; and none of it is acceptable.

Tell your child to ask an adult for help. This is not “ratting” or “tattling”; it is doing what’s right and helps a child get out of trouble.

Discourage your child from fighting back. It is not safe.

Helpful Websites

Provincial Resources for Parents:
Or call 1-866-408-LINK; Growing Miracles is a free book for parents of children age six and younger. They are available at any Community Health Centre.
Look for ‘Turn Off The Violence’ activity packages.

Other Useful Websites: