Talking about bullying with your child

Children are never too young to start thinking, learning and talking about friendships. Together, you can talk about how to treat others, and what to do if they face a bullying situation.

Open conversations are healthy. As a parent or carer, you’re in a good position to support and guide your child to develop positive relationships and be there for them if they need help.

Discuss things you’ve seen in stories

Stories shape a child’s view of the world at any age. A book, TV show or film can be a spark for a conversation. Talk together about what happened in the story, how characters might feel, and what they should do. Break down stereotypes: sometimes children’s stories might stick to portraying bullying as only physical violence, so discuss other ways that bullying can happen.

Talk about what bullying is

An easy acronym to use is STOP: Several Times On Purpose. Bullying happens repeatedly and is intended to hurt or harm. Explore types of bullying such as physical, social, emotional, verbal and online bullying, and use these ideas to give names to things your child might have seen or heard about. Have a look at our page on what bullying is to familiarise yourself with types of bullying.

Show an interest in their friendships at school

Be curious about who your child is friends with, and what they’re saying about social groups at school. If something sounds like it could be bullying, or it could be unacceptable, mention it to your child and talk it through. Encourage them to form friendships with people who make them feel good about themselves, both face to face and online.

Explore being an active bystander with your child

Our page on taking action against bullying gives you tips for how to talk about this.

Let your child know they can talk to you about anything

You are important in your child’s life and they need to know if they’re being bullied you’ll be on their side. If they ever raise issues about bullying, visit our page on helping your child with bullying to learn what to do next.

Nurture respect for others

Our page on helping children to respect others has tips for nurturing your child’s sense of empathy, developing early social skills, managing conflict, being assertive and talking about friendship.

Take action against bullying

How to help your child be an active bystander.

Find out more

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