Bully proof your child for school

This week marks Anti-Bullying Week (18-24 November) an annual event organised by the Anti-Bullying Alliance to encourage schools, clubs, individual children and young people across the country to band together with one mission: to make bullying unacceptable – for everyone, everywhere. The NSPCC recently published research that revealed 46% of children say they have been bullied at school and 38% have been affected by cyberbullying. Teachers are often shocked when they hear that a particular child in their class has been bullied. Bullies know that it’s in their best interest to approach their victim when no one is looking and even better to use today’s technology. Cyberbullying is a growing concern among parents and a major new study reveals that only one in ten parents thinks their child is safe online.

Schools work hard to create and put in practice anti-bullying strategies but there are also things you can do as a parent to help your child. Parents play a crucial role in creating patterns of acceptable behaviour. If you want to bully proof your child, start by taking an honest look at your own family dynamics.


If you have answered “yes” to any of the above questions be aware that this can set up a pattern for your child to either be bullied or become the bully. Like the attraction between negative and positive ions, the child with bullying capabilities will be drawn to the child that endures or witnesses the above behaviours. It is a familiar pattern. Raising children to be resilient is crucial in warding off a bully. The child that reacts by being emotionally distraught to a bully will only encourage the bully.


If you are parent or child concerned about bullying, see our Beat Bullying resources page for safe places to find help.

  • Do you bully yourself, beating yourself up for mistakes you make?
  • Do you bully your children, over-criticising them and correcting everything they do?
  • Do you bully your spouse or does your spouse bully you?
  • Do you accept bullying from your friends?
  • Do you forget to stand up for yourself?
  • Do you ignore sibling rivalry that involves hitting, taunting and teasing?
  • Do you model bullying behaviour to your children? Making plans to exclude others? Gossip?
  • Do you call your children names?
  • Do you always intervene in the playground on behalf of your child?
  • Do you always try to please others?
  • Try and employ an objective eye and notice the things a bully would notice.
  • Does your child wear or do something a bit different? Individuality and creativity is fantastic but be warned that it takes a strong and confident child to pull it off. So either make sure your child can stand up to teasing or gently encourage them not to give the bully any ammunition.
  • Guide children, but allow them to handle normal playground conflicts.
  • Expose your child to various groups and activities.
  • Find groups or activities that support your child’s uniqueness.
  • Role-play laughing remarks off and creating comebacks.
  • Introduce coping skills to release anger or hurt feelings.
  • Empower children to manage anxiety.
  • Maintain strong family connections with parents and siblings.
  • Talk to your child about how they feel or the challenges they face.
  • Help your child build relationships with peers by creating opportunities.
  • Encourage your child to smile and laugh at their mistakes.