What can I do if my child is bullying others?
All children are capable of bullying at some time and it is important for parents to respond in a calm and helpful manner.

Sometimes children are unaware of the effects bullying behaviour can have on others. It may be useful to use stories or television to show children examples of bullying behaviours and the effects of these behaviours.

  • Discuss with your children positive ways to develop friendships and socialise with other children.
  • Explain the concepts of cooperation and negotiation. For example:
  • younger children: sharing, caring, taking turns, joining in
  • older children: caring about other people’s feelings, respect, communication
  • Provide opportunities for your child to be involved in social situations which foster cooperation and communication.

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How can I encourage my child not to bully others?
Discuss and model positive examples of setting and achieving goals and feeling good about themselves. Support your children in their efforts to use positive strategies.

Parents can:

  • Talk about bullying with children and about what is acceptable behaviour and what is not. For example, ‘Should we tease people because they look different?’
  • Discuss the issue of bullying together with their family and establish a common understanding of what behaviour is acceptable and what is not.
  • Work together with their family to establish simple rules and expectations amongst the family members.
  • Encourage and provide opportunities for their child to openly discuss issues with the family.
  • Consistently enforce family rules and give positive reinforcement and praise when children follow these rules.
  • Make sure their children understand the consequences of positive as well as negative behaviour.
  • Discuss friendship and cooperation and help their children develop skills in these areas.
  • Support and encourage their children to develop friendships and social skills both within the school environment and in other areas of their lives.

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How can I help my child deal with peer pressure to be involved in bullying situations?
You can role-play some pressure situations with your child to practise possible responses. For example, the parent role-plays another child trying to get your child to do something they don’t want to do: ‘Let’s tease [child’s name] about his new haircut.’ Ask your child to think of a possible response to let the person know they don’t want to do this. If they can’t think of something to say, help them to find a possible response from the list below.

Have your children practise some of these possible responses to a bullying situation. After a bit of practice, your children will find it easier to think of their own responses and will look and sound more confident when they speak.


  • I don’t want to do it.
  • I don’t believe in bullying.
  • I don’t see the point in hurting other people.
  • Bullying is wrong.
  • The more friends we have the better.
  • I am not going to help you bully someone.
  • How would you feel if someone did that to you?

Leaving someone out

  • Why not just let them join in?
  • I don’t see the need to make someone feel bad.
  • I don’t want to be mean to someone, that’s not fair.
  • Why can’t we all be friends?


  • I don’t think it is fair to tease someone about that.
  • I don’t like to call people mean names.
  • I would feel terrible if someone did that to me, so I am not going to do it.
  • Teasing people is not fun.


  • I don’t want to be involved in this.
  • Threatening people is wrong.

Gossip and Rumours

  • How do you know this story is true?
  • That is probably gossip.
  • I don’t want to be involved in spreading gossip.


  • I don’t want to be involved in fighting.
  • I’ve got something else on at that time.
  • I don’t see the point in hurting someone.

During this activity, children quickly realise that a person who pressures you to do something you don’t want to do is not behaving the way a friend should. Friends accept their friend’s decisions and don’t try to pressure them to do something they feel uncomfortable about.

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