Yarning with young ones about bullying, parents and carers can help them to understand and deal with it. When talking to their kids about bullying, parents and carers can think about the following.
Things to think about:
- You are the most important people your kids learn from.
- Your kids learn at an early stage by watching, listening and practising and by close contact with people who are important to them.
- The way you think about and talk about your own experiences is very powerful in shaping your kids’ beliefs.
- When, each day, are you able to talk with your kids?
- Let your kids know you are really interested in what they have to say.
- Let your kids know they can talk with you, no matter what it’s about.
- If you talk with your kids about day-to-day things, they will be more likely to talk about difficult issues such as bullying.
- Listen to your kids to find out how they are feeling and what is going on in their lives.
- Sometimes kids may not tell you they are being bullied; by listening to them, you can tell if they are happy or if something is bothering them.
Yarning with young ones about being bullied
This section offers advice to parents and carers who are worried their kids may be affected by bullying at school. Bullying is unacceptable and parents, carers, teachers and others working with kids all share a responsibility for preventing it. Talking with your kids about being bullied can be very hard; it helps if you can think about your kids’ needs and feelings.
How to explain what bullying is to young ones
The images on this page can help you explain to your kids the different sorts of bullying behaviours and talk about how it might feel if it is done to someone.
Bullying is when these things happen again and again to someone.
What you can do if your kid is being bullied at school:
- Try to talk to your kid about what is going on.
- Talk to your school AIEO (ATA or AEW) or class teacher and discuss the issue and some strategies your kid could try.
- to get your kid to ask for help if they feel they are being bullied and discuss who they could talk to at school.
It can be very upsetting when you find out your kid is being bullied and your first reaction may be to get angry and hurt. However, this is not the best way to deal with the issue for your kid. You may have to take a deep breath and think about what you are going to do to help your kid to sort out the issue.
If your kid tells you they are being bullied at school:
- Be calm, helpful and supportive
- Talk about it
- Tell your kid that bullying is wrong and remind them they have the right to feel safe and happy
- Ask your kid if this is the first time this has happened and, if it is not the first time, talk about what has been done to help the situation so far
- Make sure your kids know how to get help and support at school
- Help your kids work out a plan of what they could do to help make the situation better
- Always talk to the school about bullying issues; they may not know about the situation or may not have the whole story
- Be willing to work with the school to make sure the bullying stops
Help your kids find people they can trust to talk to
It is important kids have someone they can turn to for help. Talk to your kids about who can help, for example:
- Older brothers and sisters
- Shop lady
- Youth worker
- Another trusted adult
Helping your young ones to not bully others
Young ones who bully often don’t realise how much they really hurt other people. Kids might bully for different reasons, and it is useful for parents and carers to know why they are doing it so they can help them to stop.
Things to think about:
- Many young ones bully because they see older ones bullying and think that it is what they should do too.
- Lots of young ones who bully in a group seem to think they are just having fun. They do not realise the hurt they are causing because they are just going along with the group.
- Sometimes kids bully for payback. It could be against a person who used to be a friend. It could be family-feuding business. Payback is very real in our communities and often leads to family arguments and feuding.
- A young one may bully because he or she thinks that some people deserve to be treated badly because of their race, ethnicity, interests, or how they look.
- Some kids may bully because they get popular for bossing people around, and it makes them feel good and safe from being bullied themselves.
What can parents and carers do if their kid is bullying others?
- Talk to your kid about how bullying can hurt others.
- Tell your kid that others don’t really like those who bully.
- Talk about better ways your kid can make real friends with other kids.
- Talk about getting along with other kids. For example:
- sharing, taking turns and joining in
- caring about other people’s feelings, respect, and talking to people nicely
- Talk about bullying and about what is good behaviour. For example, ‘We don’t tease people because they look different’.
- Talk about bullying with the whole family and come to a common agreement about what behaviour is alright and what is not.
- Talk with your family to work out simple rules and expectations.
- Talk about friendship and help kids develop skills in these areas.
- Support and encourage your kids to develop friendships in and out of school.
Try this yarning activity to help talk about bullying:
- Find a quiet place with just you and your kid.
- Start with the first question.
- Listen to the response and try restating your kid’s answer in your own words (e.g. ‘So, you are saying…’).
- Encourage your kid to talk more by waiting until they have finished their answer before you comment.
Questions to help kids think (Add your own questions too)
- If you saw your friend being teased, how would you feel?
- What could you do about the teasing?
- If your friend asked you to help bully another kid, how would this make you feel?
- What could you do about it?
- Who would you talk to if you were bullied?
- What would you do if you were bullied? Why?
Young ones and their friends
How can parents and carers help their kids develop friendships?
A friend is someone you like and who likes you. Friendships are important at school. Kids who have close friends are less likely to be bullied. Kids who are bullied but feel supported by friends are better able to deal with the situation.
Kids who have trouble making friends are more likely to have issues at school. For example, they:
- Don’t take part in school life
- Feel lonely
- Hate/dislike school
- Are more likely to be bullied
Kids who make friends easily:
- Feel happier at school
- Are less likely to be bullied
- Are able to cope better if they are bullied
- See their classmates as friendly and caring
- Develop positive attitudes to school and learning
Help your kids make friends
- Encourage your kids to make friends and play with other kids at school, at home and in your neighbourhood community.
- At home encourage your kids to talk with uncles, aunties, cousins and grandparents, adult family friends and neighbours.
- Invite other kids over for visits and help your kids make their guests feel welcome.
- Help your kids to organise play sessions, have social time at your house or visit other kids’ houses.