Bullying and teenagers

Bullying Behaviour and Teenagers is a valuable resource to share with your parent community. It provides helpful tips for parents to use to support their child if they are being bullied or if they are concerned their child is displaying bullying behaviours. Download the PDF resource here.

If your child is being bullied:

  • Tell them that bullying is never okay, and reassure them that it’s not their fault.

  • Find out what, when and where the bullying occurred and who was involved.

  • Discuss ways to stop giving power to the person doing the bullying. For example, by walking away, or ignoring them and their behaviour.

  • Reassure them that you will help to stop the bullying from continuing. It can be helpful to discuss any personal experiences you’ve had with bullying behaviour and how you dealt with it.

  • Familiarise yourself with the school’s anti-bullying policy and procedures.

  • Contact the school to ensure that teachers are aware of the problem, and work out a plan with them for how to address it.

Don't forget:

  • Be calm so you have the headspace to deal with the conversation. ‘Going off’ can make everyone more upset.

  • Don’t ever suggest retaliation as a response to bullying (because it doesn’t work).

If you think your child is showing bullying behaviours:

  • Ask them about it. Were they aware of what they’re doing and that it’s unacceptable? Try and get them to do the talking. Listen carefully and try not to jump to conclusions or judgements.

  • Show your concern for the person who is being bullied, and support your child to ‘take a walk in their shoes.’ Ask them to imagine how it would feel if one of their friends acted like that towards them, and talk through that without shaming them.

  • Ask them what they would like to do next. If they can’t come up with anything, ask whether they think starting with an apology might be helpful. Figure out how that apology will happen, i.e. in person, via email or through a meeting with a teacher.

  • Report the problem to the school, and work with teachers to develop a plan to prevent it from happening again.

Don't forget:

  • Don’t chat when tensions are running high.

  • Set expectations at home by role-modelling respectful behaviour.

Learn more about bullying and teenagers on ReachOut Parents.