What to do when your child is being bullied or is the bully.

What is Bullying?

A person who is being unkind or mean to someone repeatedly. It is ongoing and repeated mistreatment (verbal, physical, social, or cyberbullying) with the intention to purposefully cause psychological and emotional harm. It can happen anywhere (home, school, bus, groups, friends, online).

1 in 4 students experiences bullying.


Why does someone Bully?

There may be many reasons, however, bullying is never ok. Hurt people hurt people, which means someone who is not feeling good in themself may take those uncomfortable feelings out on someone else in an attempt to make themself feel better. They never do feel better doing this though. Some things include jealousy, lacking social skills, anger, trying to fit in, be in control, being treated that way themselves, or for some they do not realise what they are doing is wrong.

The impact of bullying

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Change in appetite
  • Feeling sick in the stomach (anxiety nerves)
  • Change in mood such as sadness or anger
  • Trouble with school work
  • Sudden change of friendships
  • School avoidance
  • Feel hopeless or powerless
  • Feel unsafe or afraid
  • Negative self-talk
  • Self-harm thoughts or actions

You do not have to ‘put up’ with Bullying.

Check out these helpful images from my Instagram post here @thegentlecounsellor

Every family is going to make what they believe is the best decision for them. Some of you may be homeschooling for this reason, others may have changed school due to lack of support. There is no one-size-fits-all solution… unfortunately.

– Crystal Hardstaff, The Gentle Counsellor

A few additional notes:

If you are homeschooling and your child is experiencing bullying, the same steps apply however change the language from school to parent. Some uncomfortable conversations may need to be had with the other parent regarding the situation. This is dependent on the relationship you may or may not already have with this person. The outcome can also be unpredictable as you do not know how they may react. Some things to consider include finding a mutual time to connect alone without the children and in a calm manner, getting clear on the whole story, and most importantly focusing on the emotional distress and impact this is having on one or more children. Keep in mind if you or the other adult have experienced bullying yourselves, this can be particularly challenging and triggering.

If your child is the bully, a strong emotional or punishment-based reaction may not be the best action step to take. Hurt people hurt people. This child is hurting on the inside, and a mental health professional can be of great support to stopping the continuation of this behaviour as well as promoting positive changes for the child’s wellbeing now and in the future.

Kids Helpline:

Website https://kidshelpline.com.au/ Information and Webchat available

Phone 1800 55 1800

Any questions?

Please email me hello@thegentlecounsellor.com with the subject line ‘bullying question’ or message me on social media with your questions so I can keep adding and updating this blog post with information and resources.

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