How to handle it when you suspect your child is being bullied at school Leave a comment

by Karin Grobler

Bullying is a big problem in schools, and even in the corporate life. It is important for us as parents to equip our children with the necessary skills against bullying. Children must learn in their homes to be able to use their “big voices”.


The “Big voice” is the ability to use assertive language to communicate boundaries. It sounds like this: “I don’t like it if you push me, please ask me to move.” or even “Mom, I don’t like it when you scream, please talk to me calmly.” If we use aggression to make our children do what we want them to do; we coach them, depending on their personality, into bully or victim behaviour. Children should practice at home with parents and siblings; this is the best way to become empowered. If your children speak to each other with disrespect, ask them calmly to try again, using their big voice but in a respectful way.

When you suspect you child may be bullied, keep a journal of what you notice. Record, the date, summary of event, physical or emotional signs you see. This helps when you have to approach the school.

One of the first signs of bullying is a change in your child’s behaviour. She suddenly seems more depressed, anxious, stressed, or afraid. He might come home from school dirty or dishevelled, begin asking for extra money before going to school, or complain of headaches or belly aches in an attempt to avoid school. In the best situations, he may even tell you what is going on.

When you approach the school:

  • State exactly what is happening to your child. Give details and names if you know them.
  • Express how it is affecting your child on a daily basis (both in school and at home).
  • Express what your child is saying (i.e., thinking) and how they are doing emotionally.
  • Ask what the school will do to make sure your child feels safe.
  • Mention what you have done at home with your child regarding the situation.
  • Tell the school what you have told your child to do next time he is bullied at school.
  • Ask for a copy of the school policy for bullying and harassment.
  • Come prepared with your own plan just in case the school doesn’t have one in place. Present it to the teacher/administrator and explain why you feel it would be helpful to your child

It is very important that both the bully and the victim get help. The Bully is normally a child that reacts by fighting if they feel threatened and the Victim is a child that reacts by Fleeing. Let’s help both and take this issue seriously as parents and teachers.

PHOTO BY: ALAMY originally appeared in the Telegraph

Karin Grobler from Loving Discipline SA specialises in Coaching Parents, Children and Teachers with Social Emotional Skills to handle ADHD, Tantrums, Grief and Loss, Divorce and Bullying.

Contact Karin for information about upcoming workshops or to book an appointment to discuss your child’s behavioural issues and how to address them.

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