How Parents Can Stop School Bullying

How Parents Can Stop School Bullying

Liz Michelle is behind the blog She is a single mum and an Early Childhood Teacher with more than 20 years of experience, teaching and directing in Child care centres across Sydney. 

My son Andy has been a victim of bullying at preschool as well as in primary school. He is now 11, he’s in year 6 and we have had many conversations regarding bullies, building resilience and preventing bullying behaviour. He will be starting high school next year and this is what he said to me: “I can’t wait for the high school bullies to try to bully me, mum. They don’t know how ready I am. If they try, I’m going to show them I’m a kind person, I can argue a lot and then I’ll know not to make friends with those people. I want to stand up for the kids that can’t stand up for themselves.”

The 3 most important lessons I have passed onto my son are RESILIENCE, KINDNESS and INCLUSION.


RESILENCE To Stop School Bullying

As a parent, it’s so important to model resilient behaviour. This can be as simple as not losing your temper when things go wrong, to having conversations with your kids about the fact that they are in charge of their own feelings.

I have tried to say to Andy on many occasions – ‘We choose how we want to feel about something.’ Just because somebody says something nasty or hurtful, that doesn’t mean we can’t choose how to respond, or how to feel about what was said. We get to CHOOSE how to feel. We get to CHOOSE our own emotions. If we choose to feel hurt from somebody’s words, we will feel hurt. If we CHOOSE to let the words roll right off our back and laugh it off as meaningless, we are then CHOOSING to not let those words have a negative impact on our mental health and overall wellbeing.

Try to have conversations about feelings and emotions and help kids to realise that the best way to overcome bullying behaviour from others is to not give that person power by being negatively affected by their behaviour or words. It might be easier said than done, I know, but it all starts with conversations about feelings, if you want to build resilience. 

After all, if a person is showing their true colours through nasty, unkind, bullying type behaviour, why do we care what they think or say anyway?


KINDNESS To Stop School Bullying

The most important thing I teach my son is to be kind to others. No matter what. You never know what somebody else is going through in their personal life or at home and you never want to be the reason somebody feels upset or hurt.

Kind gestures can fill a person’s bucket, and it fills your own bucket too! Bucket filling has become a popular term when it comes to talking about our emotions and improving mental health. Ways to fill a bucket can include sharing something, giving someone a hug when they need it, giving a genuine compliment or helping somebody when they need it. 

Kindness is very closely linked to my next point which is Inclusion.


INCLUSION To Stop School Bullying

Have you ever been excluded? It could have been in school – not getting picked by your peers to be in a sports team, or not getting invited to a party. How did it make you feel? I think in one way or another, we have all felt excluded at some point and let’s be honest.. it hurts!

Inclusion doesn’t mean you need to be friends with everyone at the same time, and it doesn’t mean you need to invite the entire class over to your house for a play date. Rather, it’s actively NOT excluding!

I teach Andy that everyone is different in their own way. Diversity means that no two people are exactly the same so part of acceptance and inclusion is recognising that our physical features, cultural background, race, gender or religion are not reasons to exclude somebody. Andy has friends from various backgrounds with differing religious beliefs, he has friends that are girls, friends that have disabilities and friends that are younger and older. I have taught him never to actively exclude anybody for any reason, but rather go out of his way to be inclusive – to stand up for his rights, for the rights of others that may not have the confidence to do it for themselves and to show kindness to all those around him.

Final Thoughts On How Parents Can Stop School Bullying

It is very difficult to stamp out bullying in schools. There will always be bullies and there will always be victims of bullying, but the best way to equip kids with the tools they need to prevent getting bullied or showing bullying behaviour to others is to have conversations at home.

It might seem too simple, but simple conversations are powerful! Start with the basics:

  1. Talk about feelings and building resilience
  2. Talk about the importance of kindness and mental health
  3. Talk about what inclusion means as opposed to exclusion

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It just has to make sense to kids!

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