What to Do if Your Child is Being Bullied

With Anti-Bullying week behind us, it is important to recognise that bullying regrettably, is something that happens all year round. Bullying is a topic we know a lot about but never expect for it to happen to our own child. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and children can at times experience bullying. This can impact their emotions, self-esteem, education and social wellbeing and therefore it is incredibly important to support children as a parent, teacher, friend or school. How can you do this? Here are some suggestions on how to help a child that is being bullied.

Bullying is a repetitive behaviour which is intended to hurt someone either physically or emotionally. Bullying can happen over a sustained period of time and in most cases can be small things that may go unnoticed – however the repetition of these small actions can have a huge impact on a child’s feelings and wellbeing. 

Firstly, you will need to identify if your child is being bullied, or if there is another reason why their behaviour or emotions are different to normal. 

Parents may notice the following changes to behaviours:

• Does not discuss school or avoids talking about school (Many children don’t discuss school at home and this alone is not something to be concerned about. If your child usually discusses school but now seems withdrawn from the topic you should definitely keep an eye on the situation.)

• Does not discuss friends at school, nor do they bring any home

• Appears to be very quiet and keeps to themself at home

• Has become very emotional and their mood fluctuates abnormally

• Makes excuses regularly to not go to school or seems afraid to

• Seems afraid to walk or get the bus to school

• Your child comes home with damaged pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings

• Your child comes home with physical marks or bruises

• Appears upset when they are on their phone

• Gets an abnormal amount of notifications on their phone or when they are online

• Sleeps poorly or has nightmares

• Recent loss of appetite

Next Steps

If your child has not spoken to you about being bullied, it might be better to approach it indirectly and more subtly. 

Here are some examples of how you can raise this:

• Some of my friends have told me there is bullying going on at their child’s school, does this happen at your school?

• If any bullying were happening at your school, you know it is ok to tell me as then I would be able to help. Even if it is not happening to you – if you know someone is being bullied they might be too afraid to speak up, so you could help by talking to an adult you trust. 

If you are still not completely sure, ask some subtle questions to understand their situation.

• Have you made any good or new friends at school?

• You are welcome to bring them round or have them stay over.

• Do you have anyone to walk to school with or get the bus with to make the journey more fun?

• Do you enjoy going to school, are there any subjects you do or don’t like?

If your child has spoken to you to tell you that they are being bullied, then you can ask more direct questions and start to take further steps. Tell your child it was the right decision telling you that they are being bullied, explain to them it is not their fault and reassure them you will do everything you can to resolve the issue. Find out what steps they are happy to take to resolve the situation, or if they wish to report it to their teacher, headteacher or club leader. Make sure you consult your child if you plan to take the issue further. Your child may be worried that if the school knows their bully will find out. This can often cause children to clam up – reassure them that the teachers deal with this all the time and that they are there to keep them safe. You could always tell your child the first step you will take is to find out what the schools bullying policy is. Bullying policies should be available on most school websites but if not you can ask your school for a copy. You can then see the steps your school will take and talk these through with your child.

It also goes without saying that you should encourage your child not to resort to violence, as this can cause further problems and get them in trouble. The bully could become more abusive and possibly physically abusive if your child retaliates physically. Remind your child they are better than the bully and they do not need to stoop to their level despite how much they may want to.

To help improve their self-confidence and to provide them with a fun space to occupy their mind ,encourage them to take up a hobby, this may be in school or outside of school.

Kidscape have created a log for parents and their child, to help them with keeping a record of any bullying that happens to them. It includes, what happened, where it happened, the date, who was involved, how it made them feel and more. This diary/log allows your child to provide you and the school with all the information they need. It also allows your child to express what is happening and how it makes them feel.

It is important to let your child know they are brave for speaking up. Remind them that they are safe and that there are adults at home and in school who will make sure they stay that way. If they are feeling anxious or worried after this conversation remind them that this is normal and talk through how to overcome these feelings. YoungMinds have some incredibly useful tips on how to support and help your child during moments of anxiety. 


ChildLine - 0800 1111

Direct Gov

EACH - 0808 1000 143 

Victim Support - 08 08 16 89 111 

National Bullying Helpline - Helpline: 0300 323 0169 Telephone: 0845 225 5787. They also have a vast range of guides and resources of how to deal with bullying for all parties.


National Bullying Helpline

UK Government

Anti-Bullying Alliance

Bullying can affect your child’s mental health, however, there a things you can do to help. Check out our blog Children's Mental Health Week 2022.

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