I’m a parenting expert and there’s a simple way to talk to your kids about bullying at school | #parenting


TALKING to your kids about bullying can be a tricky conversation if you don’t know how to approach it.

Even if you think your kids know what to do if they ever get bullied it can sometimes be more complicated than parents realise.

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It can be tricky to know how to talk about bullying with your kids, but approaching the topic the right way can make a huge differenceCredit: Getty

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist, child behaviour expert and mum of four, so she knows a thing or two about how parents should approach the topic of bullying.

She spoke to Fabulous to reveal everything you need to know, from talking to your kid’s teachers to what to do if your child is the bully.

What is bullying?

One of the main things to remember is that there are loads of different types of bullying and sometimes the word bullying is used, but it’s really just poor social skills.

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Elizabeth explains: “Children often don’t know how to deal with conflict and don’t know how to communicate, so maybe they have brothers or sisters who insult them and they then do the same to friends or children on the playground.”

This isn’t necessarily bullying according to the pro, who explained: “Bullying is when it’s consistent with the purpose of making them feel a bit smaller.”

It’s all to do with the reaction kids can get out of each other, since that’s seen as fun and interesting to the bully.

What can parents do?

The most important thing any parent can do is teach their kids not to react – it’s easier said than done but according to the parenting pro it can make a massive difference.

So how do you teach kids to not react?

“The way to do that is to practice at home, It’s not to scare the child, it’s to play a game,” Elizabeth says.

Instead of making it a dramatic conversation you can practice different reactions together so they’re better prepared if it anyone makes mean comments at school.

Your reaction matters

It’s completely normal to be furious when you find out your little one is being bullied, no matter how old they are.

But most parents go about it all wrong and often end up making the situation worse.

“The most important thing is to keep yourself calm and to thank your child for telling you,” Elizabeth says.

Although taking charge might feel like the right thing to do parents should try and avoid doing this the pro says.

When to get the school involved

Going to talk to your child’s teachers without them knowing can actually make them feel more like a victim because they think they need to be protected by adults.

Instead, the pro says parents should write down who was there, what was said and exactly what happened before going to the school.

Most importantly, parents should let their kids explain what is going on to a teacher they trust, and be there for support.

Elizabeth says: “Most parents wouldn’t think about taking their child in and they don’t think of that a strategy or understand the importance of the child being able to explain what’s going on.”

The parenting expert explained that this method empowers the child, “they feel like they have some kind of agency and it stops them being victimised twice, once by the bully and again by the parent who just wants to fix it.”

What if you think your child is the bully?

Teaching kids the three steps of conflict is important to prevent bullying, they are:

  1. Listen and empathise
  2. Explain your point of view clearly and respectfully
  3. Collaborate to find solutions

Once parents have taught their kids these steps they can practice at home with the goal of knowing how to behave on the playground.

Kids often bully other kids because they don’t feel powerful, so a simple way to stop this is give them agency at home.

But most children are doing it because they don’t feel very powerful

Elizabeth says: “It’s about giving the child the ability within the home to have a say about things and teaching them how to deal with anger and frustration in a more respectful way.”

How to reduce the chances of bullying

It’s all about confidence and body language, according to Elizabeth.

She says that making sure they stand up straight, make eye contact and speak confidently will make them less likely to be bullied.

Parents can also make a ‘bullyproofing’ project with their kids at home to make sure they’ve got the necessary skills, like confidence and how not to react.

Teaching your kids to be confident is one of the most important things parents can teach their kids to prevent bullying

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Teaching your kids to be confident is one of the most important things parents can teach their kids to prevent bullyingCredit: Getty



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