What to do as a parent when your child is suffering from bullying

We understand that it is never pleasant to think about your child or young person being involved in bullying, whether it be as the bully, victim or witness, but it is such an important topic to address.

What can I do?

The first thing to do is to talk to your child or young person. Explain to them what the signs of bullying are and explain you have noticed a change within them. Reassure them that you are there for them to talk when they are ready to do so.

If your child opens up to you, it is important to listen to your child calmly, offering support and comfort, as most children and young people may feel anxious, embarrassed or upset. If your child does not want to talk to you about bullying, then it is best to suggest that while you are there for them, they can also open up to another trusted adult and encourage them to do so.

For most children and young people, bullying happens within school. If this is the case for your child, you should contact the school to start a conversation about your concerns with their teacher, head of year or pastoral manager. Most schools have an anti-bullying policy and will not tolerate even the smallest cases of bullying; therefore, it should be picked up fairly quickly.

Even if it seemed to be a one-off incident, it is always best to inform the school especially if it was in relation to a protected characteristic. This may be because of a school-wide cultural issue that might need addressing. If your child is being bullied in relation to a protected characteristic then this is a hate crime, and therefore is against the law. You can report this to the police by phone on 101 or online.

If the bullying is happening online through social media or gaming, you are able to report this to the platforms as most have rules centred around online bullying. You can also report bullying videos that are shared online and request for them to be taken down.

How we can help

If you believe your child or young person is struggling with their mental health due to the bullying that is taking place, or their changes in behaviour do not ease through talking to them and exploring ways to help manage them together, then it may be time to seek professional help for your child. This also applies if your child or teenager themselves is a bully, as they may need support to resolve what is triggering this behaviour.

Here, at The Retreat Clinics, we understand seeking therapy can be daunting for both you and your child and that taking the first step can be hard. We have a team of professional and friendly child therapists who can work together with you and your child to design a bespoke and flexible treatment which works best for them. We have a range of children’s therapy services which are available for children and teenagers aged 4 to 17 at our clinics in York, Manchester and online.

If you would like to find out more about the support we can offer please get in touch by emailing info@theretreatclinics.org.uk