What Can I Do If My Child Is Being Bullied At School?

Bullying hurts.

Bullying hurts bodies.

Bullying hurts bodies and minds.

Bullying hurts bodies, minds and communities.

What is bullying?

Bullying is more than being excluded from a game or being called a name. It is the repetitive, persistent and hurtful dominance and intimidation of another person.

Here are some key signs that your child might be being bullied:

  1. Unexplained injuries: physical bullying can happen! Lots of children who are physically hurt might try and hide the injuries or explain them away due to fear or feeling ashamed.
  2. Seeming down and withdrawn: persistent negative comments and hurtful actions impacts a young persons’ self worth.
  3. Bringing food home: sometimes, young people are teased so much that they stop doing anything that might be a ‘target’ for bullying, such as eating in front of others.
  4. Finding reasons not to go to school: your child might make an excuse such as; ‘I don’t need to be there today, it’s just revision’ or ‘I feel sick (again)’. Of course, this might be the truth, but there could also be a bigger issue.
  5. Missing personal items: bullying can be a combination of aggressive behaviour including threatening and stealing.
  6. Avoidance: perhaps your child is asking to be picked up from school, or dropped to school only minutes before the bell!
  7. Increased hypervigilance: bullying increases the stress responses (aka the fight or flight response). Often, young people who are bullied are more ‘on edge’ than their peers. This is due to a process of conditioning, whereby the young person learns to be on the look out, constantly.

 

What should I do if my child is being bullied?

If you are worried or concerned about your child, here are a few tips that might help:

  • Talk about bullying: simply talking about the problem, and communicating to children that you’ve noticed a change, can be a huge stress reliever for someone who’s being bullied. Be supportive and listen to your child’s feelings without judgment, criticism, or blame.
  • Remove the bait: if your child is targeted by a bully for his or her lunch money, phone, or iPod – for example – suggest your child packs a lunch for school and leaves the gadgets at home.
  • Find help for them: make sure teachers and other adults know the child is being bullied. No child should have to handle bullying alone.
  • Help them avoid isolation: kids with friends are better equipped to handle bullying. Find ways to increase their social circle, via youth or religious groups or clubs, for example.
  • Help them to reframe the problem; try to view bullying from a different perspective: the bully is an unhappy, frustrated person who wants to have control over your feelings so that you feel as badly as they do. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
  • Ensure kids know that bullying is not their fault: no matter what someone says or does, the bully is responsible for his or her actions, not the victim.

Where can I get help for bullying?

If you are concerned about your young person seek some support. You can call/email one of our friendly staff at The Psych Professionals and they will be happy to answer any questions you might have and provide you with some information:

Loganholme Practice:  P: (07) 3801 1772 | E: info@psychprofessionals.com.au

Capalaba Practice:  P: (07) 3823 2230 | E: contact@psychprofessionals.com.au

Or, complete our Online Enquiry Form and someone will call you at a time convenient to you.