If your child is being bullied

If you think your child is being bullied at school or in the community, you need to address it safely and adequately. Here are some tips to help you start the conversation:

  • Choose an appropriate time to ask your child about suspected bullying. What about during your drive home from school? Or during an after-dinner walk? Creating a space where your child doesn’t have to look you in the eye might help them open up to you.
  • Let your child do the talking.
  • Listen and don’t judge your child. Encourage him/her to describe the bullying in as much detail as they can, and document what they are telling you.
  • Use open-ended questions, to encourage your child to talk about his/her day or share what is going on at school.
    For example: "what did you like the most about your day?" or
    "what was the most frustrating part of your day?"
  • Make sure your child knows that its okay for them to feel the way they do.
  • Paraphrase what you heard about your child’s feelings and thoughts. This will help your child feel understood, and he/she will likely be more open to your help.
  • Don’t start a conversation if you don’t have time for it, or know you’ll be interrupted.
  • Brainstorm ways for your child to deal with the bullying. Encourage your child to walk away from the bully or ignore him/her.
  • Encourage your child to report the bullying. If it happened in a school, help them find someone to report it to.

If your child is a bully

If you suspect or have been told that your child is bullying others, you need to take it seriously and address the situation in a calm, open-minded manner.

  • You should make it very clear that the bullying behaviour must stop immediately.
  • Ask your child about his/her friends, and what they do together.
  • Find out if there is something happening at school or at home that is causing them to act out.
  • Ask open-ended questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no.
  • Paraphrase back what you hear them say and have them take ownership over their actions.
  • Set consequences for his/her actions, and establish positive ways that he/she can earn those privileges back.
  • Listen carefully and ask your child questions regarding the situation. Try to find out the reasons and possible motivation for the bullying behaviour.

Your child may be bullying for a number of reasons, and it’s important to identify why so you can find the most appropriate solution. Here are some reasons why your child may be bullying others:

  • Parents have separated, divorced or remarried.
  • Trouble adjusting to new family situations, like a new sibling or significant family changes, new community, death of a family member or pet.
  • Parents may be working long hours and the child is spending more time alone.
  • Influence from violent TV shows, movies, video games or music.
  • May gain popularity from their aggressive behaviour.
  • May be mimicking violent or aggressive behaviour that they regularly witness.
  • May not have the skills to empathize with others.
  • Lacking confidence or being picked on or bullied by others.

As a parent, you need to model positive behaviour for your children. Make sure you stop by the setting a good example section of this site for practical tips on how to do this.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or of hurting yourself or others, please reach out immediately for help. Call 9-1-1 (or your local police or authority, if you do not have 9-1-1) or go to your nearest hospital emergency room.

If you are being bullied, feeling alone or just need to talk to someone who will listen, please reach out to a trained volunteer or professional:



Resources for Parents

Read More

Resources for Youth

Read More
Close

Thank you for stopping by to check out the ERASE Bullying online reporting tool. This tool is accessible through computers and smart phones, and will allow students, parents or other witnesses to report bullying or other threatening behaviour, anytime and anywhere.

The online reporting tool has just been developed and is in the final stages of testing.

If you need help, please reach out to someone you trust, like a parent, friend or teacher. Or, you can reach out to someone who doesn’t know you for support. There is a list of youth-oriented support lines and websites on this site just for you.

Close