With Cyber Bullying in the media lately, parents want to know how to respond

What parents can do if their child/teen is being cyberbullied?

  • Go offline – Block the Sender – Do not Reply – Keep the Message & Report
  • Talk with the School who have an Anti Bullying Policy
  • Be there – create opportunities for them to talk with you
  • Encourage expression – let them say how they feel – when they are ready – and what they need from you
  • Support & Reassurance

What to say to a cyberbullied teen

  •  ‘This is not your fault, the person who bullies has the problem, not you’
  •  ‘Don’t believe what the bully says’.
  •  ‘I am 100% on your side’ they need to hear this
  •  ‘Anyone can be bullied’
  •  ‘Don’t let them know you are upset as the bully is looking for a reaction’
  •   Roleplay how to respond : ‘Head up, make eye contact and speak assertively’
  •  ‘Bullies are unhappy people who are unhappy with themselves’

Top Tip for Social Networking Sites:

  •   Ensure their profile is set to private
  •   Advise them not to share their passwords
  •   Advise them to log out

What does the ‘victim’ need to learn?

The ‘victim’ need to learn to assert themselves & take care of themselves in the face of another’s difficult behavior. They maybe allowing themselves to be bullied, however, they maybe already bullying themselves, so they connect with what the bully has said, identify it and thereby allow it.

This needs to change – how is it I personalize another persons difficult behavior as somehow being about me? The bullies behavior is about them, however how I respond (victim) is only about me, how I feel about myself and what is going on for me.

What is hidden behind the ‘victim’ passivity?

Passivity is a behavior a person adopts to the defensive behavior of another. If I feel threatened, my response will either be by Acting Out (anger/aggression etc) or Acting In (withdrawal/passivity/conformity) . Therefore, in School if this child/teen encounters someone who is defensive, old patterns of passivity emerge. Building an awareness of this, and the possibility of asserting self  means the teen can make new choices and take new actions towards ‘championing self’.

  • The challenge for the bully however;  is they need to be more passive, less aggressive

Ways to raise self esteem/confidence in your teen

Confidence comes from feeling Lovable & Capable

  1. Parent unconditionally – ‘I always love you, but I need to speak with you around your behavior’
  2. Enabling your child/teen ensures they feel competent and confident, so doing less teaches them to do more, give them lots of opportunities to undertake challenges and support them with time for training & ensure they know it is safe to make a mistake, as mistakes are part of learning

 Why do children/teens bully?

  • Their response to changes (divorce/separation/death)
  • If they are over controlled at home, they go into school & need to feel a sense of power that they don’t feel at home
  • Poor self esteem, unhappy
  • They may have been bullied in the past
  • Lack of love/care/inconsistent or excessive discipline

What is hidden behind the bullying behavior?

‘I wonder what has happened for you to get to this place?

We need to reform not to punish, we need to develop a sense of empathy in the person who is bullying, around the impact of their behavior on another and to stand in their shoes and see how they would feel.


  •  I want to empower the victim to take care of self and Return to Sender all comments/actions
  •  I want to empower the victim to move from blaming self towards care of self so they can champion self instead of personalizing

Remember, there will always be another bully, the solution is raising self confidence so the person champions self and ‘Return’s to Sender’ all comments.