Try to listen to the whole story without interrupting. Be empathic, calm and validate what is being said. Ask what your child would like to happen, before you make suggestions.
Have a conversation about what happened. Try not to make the conversation intense or you might deter your child from talking to you. Remind your child it's normal to feel hurt, it's never OK to be bullied, and it's NOT their fault.
3. Find out what is happening
Note what, when and where the bullying occurred, who was involved, how often and if anybody else witnessed it. Don't offer to confront the child or children doing the bullying or their parents yourself. You can make things worse for your child.
4. Contact the school
In preparation for discussion with your child's school about the bullying:
- Write down what your child told you about specific incidents of bullying.
- Check your school's bullying policy and the process for raising a bullying concern.
- Make an appointment with your child's teacher/home group supervisor, or other point of contact as specified in your school's bullying policy and procedure.
- Go into the school meeting with a positive expectation of working with the school as a partner in dealing with the complaint.
- Get the school to outline how they will ensure your child's physical safety while they are at school.
- Be aware that the school will not disclose to you the substance of their discussions with others or what steps they have taken to monitor other children, as this would be a breach of privacy principles.
Make a follow-up appointment to check the situation is still being monitored, that positive action is continuing, and to report back your child's sense of the situation having been addressed.
5. Give sensible advice
Encourage your child not to fight back, but coach them to use neutral or, if appropriate, joking language in response. Help them explore other possible responses.
- Tell them that the behaviour was intentional and it won't just go away
- Explain it's safer to avoid people, places or situations that could expose them to further bullying
- If your child asks to stay home from school, explain that it won't help - and may make things worse
- If possible, help to make opportunities for them to join other groups of young people - e.g. clubs at school or other groups outside of school time.