Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious or hidden. Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders.

Responding to bullying

You can

  • Learn what bullying is and what it is not
  • Talk about bullying with children to make it easier for them to tell you if something happens
  • Make sure they know what bullying is and how they can respond - help prepare children to prevent online bullying and to know what to do if it happens
  • When children are young start to guide them to develop the skills they need to build positive relationships, including problem-solving skills
  • Recognise the warning signs of bullying - talk to children if you have any concerns - sometimes children won't ask for help, so it is important to know what to look for
  • Learn how to respond if a child tells you about bullying
  • Find out as much as you can about what has happened by talking calmly with the child
  • Read about and practice strategies with the child that can help
  • Contact the school if bullying has occurred and the school needs to be involved
  • Get involved in what your school is doing to prevent bullying
  • Learn about relevant state or national laws about bullying
  • Find resources for parents on the Student Wellbeing Hub website
  • Talk to your care team so they know what is happening and can support you and the child

Tell children that bullying can happen to anyone but it is never okay.

Make sure children know what to do if it happens to them or they see it happening to someone else. Talk about how to respond to bullying safely.

Most importantly, let children know how to get help if bullying happens.

Encourage them to speak to an adult if it happens, and to keep on asking for help if the bullying doesn't stop.

You have an important role to help children learn how to manage their own feelings and to work out how to argue or disagree with other people in appropriate ways. Everyday activities and issues can be valuable learning opportunities.

Keep communication open

Children will ask for advice and help with problems if they think you are interested in them and their concerns.

When you spend some time each day asking about what happened during the day, show genuine interest in their feelings and experiences, children will know that they can talk to you if they have a problem.

Check in with children often. Listen to them. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns. Ask them about issues they tell you about, but don't jump in to solve their problems. Ask them what they think they can do about it.

Be alert too that children sometimes 'shut down' and become reluctant to talk if they are experiencing bullying and don't know what to do. Be alert to the signs of bullying. Sensitive and caring conversations about what is happening for a child can make a difference.

You can find more information about bullying on these websites.

Want to become a carer?
To become a foster carer your ability to care and nurture a child is what really matters.
To learn more, visit the LWB foster care website