14 Tips to Combat Bullying at School

14 Tips to Combat Bullying at School

Bullying in childhood can have lifelong effects but parents can help protect their child by being educated. Here are 14 tips about the signs of bullying and how to react if your child is affected.

1. Reinforce to your child that they have a right to be safe at school.

2. Model respect when speaking and listening so your child develops this habit and expects it from others.

3. Listen to all the small stuff, as this will make your child more likely to tell you the big stuff.

4. Find out what is happening during their day and what they do at lunch time. Are they included in games and invited to play dates and parties? If not, they may be a target of bullying or need help developing the necessary skills to make and maintain friendships.

5. Look out for an increase in symptoms such as stomach-aches, headaches, tiredness, irritability, anxiety, depression or insomnia, or a reluctance to attend school, as this can indicate bullying. There may also be a drop in academic performance.

6. Supervise access to the internet and social media on all electronic devices. Be a friend on your child’s Facebook page and place restrictions on internet use.

7. Be curious if your child has missing school equipment and/or a damaged uniform. This may be a sign of bullying.

8. Communicate bullying to the school. Most teachers and principals are well-educated in handling these situations. Don’t take matters into your own hands and speak with the bully or the bully’s parents.

9. Promote relationships with other trusted adults. Sometimes a child will confide in a grandparent, aunt or neighbour, rather than their parents. Research has shown that committed parents are a protective factor against harm including bullying, but also that one other person who is not the immediate caregiver provides an extra layer of protection for children.

10. Teach children to report bullying to an adult – being a bystander isn’t okay.

11. If your child is being bullied, teach them problem-solving techniques such as whom they can sit with and what they can do.

12. Promote self-esteem and resilience by encouraging your child to engage in activities they’re good at. Increasing self-esteem decreases the chances of your child being bullied.

13. Get involved at your child’s school. Be aware of the school’s bullying policy and assist in communicating firm limits on unacceptable behaviour.

14. Seek professional help if needed. A psychologist can help your child process what has happened to them and develop strategies to handle potential future problems.

Your GP can provide you with documentation to obtain up to 10 Medicare-rebated sessions per calendar year in order to provide professional support for your child.

Words by Danielle Corbett // Photography by Timothy Eberly

Guest Contributor