Prevention is better than cure, Whether your child is being bullied or has a bullying behaviour, the underlying problem is self esteem.

What can parents do?

  • Build Self Esteem through giving opportunities for the child to become enabled and feel more competent
  • Build Self Esteem through spending 1:1 time with their child to ensure child feels secure and valued
  • Have different friends whether school, scouts, football, cousins as backup
  • Listen and support their child in whatever is going on

Teach your child to assert themselves

  • Roleplay with them how to make strong eye contact with the bully
  • Know what to say
  • Say it, consisely and clearly
  • Be specific and to the point
  • Stay calm and relaxed
  • Be persistent and do not whine

Examples of assertiveness statements:

  • ‘Don’t speak to me like that, I will report it’
  • ‘Get away & leave me alone!’ said loudly attracts attention with strong eye contact
  • ‘I don’t like your attitude’
  • ‘Stop hassling me NOW!’
  • ‘I want the name calling to STOP!’
  • ‘I will report this if it happens again’
  • ‘I’m not gonna do this!’

Teach them to say No

  • ‘I am not getting involved in that’
  • ‘I don’t wanna do this’
  • ‘I don’t agree with this; I refuse to be involved here’

Do not overprotect them as they never learn to protect themselves

Over protective parenting simply disables children and the child feels dis-empowered. If you are always there to protect them, ultimately you may render them helpless and unable to cope when you are not around. Good parenting requires us to empower our child with showing our belief in their capacity to manage themselves and giving them lots of opportunity’s with encouragement to help them feel enabled. For more on this, see articles on Responsible Children.

What to do if they are being bullied

  • Stay calm and do not overreact
  • Tell them ‘it is not your fault, the bully has the problem’
  • Involve them to empower them ‘what do you think we can do that would help?’
  • Come up with clever responses (see above)
  • Practice/roleplay with them ‘Head up, walk tall – fake it till you make it’
  • Practice appearing calm as bully needs a reaction or they move on
  • Encourage them to talk
  • Educate them about bullying – bullies are cowards; once you stand up to them, the bully has the problem
  • Spend 1:1 time to build self esteem
  • Inform the school
  • Monitor &  keep a record
  • Martial arts can give a sensse of empowerment

Top Tips

  • Act Confident
  • Do not hit back
  • Laugh it off
  • Ignore them and walk away
  • Answer back sharply
  • Remind them ‘this is about the bully & not about you – you are a good person & don’t deserve this’
  • Tell someone
  • Inform the school
  • Encourage Assertion
  • Roleplay standing up to the bully
  • Stand up and say NO!
  • Enable your child – overprotection disables them
  • Do not let the bully see they have hurt you
  • Encourage them to discuss how they feel
  • Be aware of your own behaviour
  • Pursue a solution till it is achieved