How to Deal With Bullying: A Parents' Guide


1. What is the bullying definition (UK)?

2. Why do kids bully?

3. How to spot bullying?

4. How to stop your child from being bullied

5. How to stop your child from bullying others


We understand that bullying can be as hard for you as a parent to deal with as it is for your child. In this article, we’re going to let you know how to spot the signs of bullying and give you solutions to support your child. The most important thing to remember is; you’re not alone.

boy with head down on a bench

What is the bullying definition (UK)?


There isn’t a legal bullying definition set out in the UK. However, the UK government describes bullying behaviour as the intention to harm someone repeatedly, either physically or emotionally. There are three main types of bullying that occur in schools, and these can happen during school or outside of school hours. 

🗣️ Verbal bullying definition

Verbal bullying involves saying or writing mean things. It can include teasing, taunting, threatening, or name-calling. 

🤼‍♂️ Physical bullying definition

Physical bullying involves hurting someone’s body or their possessions. Inflicting physical pain can include hitting, kicking, tripping, spitting, or pinching. Harming possessions can mean breaking or taking them.

🛹 Social bullying definition

Social bullying involves hurting someone’s relationships or reputation. It can include leaving them out, spreading rumours, embarrassing them, or telling other kids not to talk to them. 


Why do kids bully?


Our experts explain that kids who bully other students usually lack self-esteem, are being bullied themselves, or don’t realize they are doing it.

More than half of all children have encountered bullying in some way, either as a victim, perpetrator, or witness. The first step is for you to spot whether or not your kid is being bullied or being a bully. 👍 That way you can help them and come up with an action plan together. 


How to spot bullying?


While teenagers usually have a better understanding of their emotions and surroundings, if you have younger children you will probably have to look out for signs.

Signs your child is being bullied

Here are some warning signs that your child is being bullied:

  • They have bruises or physical markings they can’t or won’t explain
  • They come home with damaged or missing possessions
  • They complain they are sick more often and don’t want to go to school
  • They have trouble sleeping, nightmares, or wet the bed
  • They have a loss of appetite
  • They seem anxious

Signs your child is bullying others

Here are some warning signs that your child is bullying others:

  • They have difficulty sleeping
  • They are misbehaving and get frustrated or angry easily
  • They are obsessed with being popular (which can indicate low self-esteem)
  • They experience violence or anger at home


How to stop your child from being bullied


As a parent, you are the most important person to your child and they look up to you. You can help them through this. 

The first thing you need to do is remain calm. It’s only natural that you will feel hurt, worried, and even angry when you find out but keeping a cool head will help the situation. 

Empower your child and teach them coping strategies

  • Practice responses with your child that are direct but not aggressive (e.g. “that wasn’t nice”)
  • Tell them to hold their head up high and demonstrate positive body language
  • Help them feel good about themself and more confident - sign them up for group sports or art classes or any activity they are good at 
  • Talk to them about the bully and explain that they most likely have their own issues and aren’t happy

What should your child do when they are being bullied at school?

  • Respond with a short reply (e.g. “stop it”) and walk away
  • Don’t fight back physically or with aggressive words
  • Don’t show they are upset (count to ten or think of a happy thought)
  • Tell an adult (either a parent or someone at school) so they can keep a record of the incident

What should you do if the bullying doesn’t stop?

If it continues, you should raise it with the school and follow their anti-bullying policy. If you aren’t happy with the way they handle it, you can complain to the Department of Education, but only after you have tried to work it out with the school. 

🛑 Whatever you do, don’t approach the bully or their parents, it can get you in trouble and could make school life worse for your child. 

🤗 You can ask for external support from an expert local or national organisation like Bullying UK. 


How to stop your child from bullying others


As a parent, you may be shocked to discover your kid is bullying others.  Remain calm and sit them down for a supportive conversation. They weren’t always a bully and they don’t have to remain that way. 

The most important thing to do is to get to the root cause because your kid is probably suffering in some way and acting out. Remember they don’t yet have the same verbal skills as you so it can be difficult for them to express how they feel in words. 😊

You should find out the reason behind their behaviour and this could be linked to any big changes in their life: family issues, bereavement, or possibly being bullied which is hurting their self-esteem. 

Once you identify the issue, talk to them about it and talk about their actions, promoting kindness and compassion. 

Can kindness stop bullying?

Yes, kindness can help give your child a different perspective. 🥰 Our experts recommend you teach your child how to empathize with those they are bullying by brainstorming together how it makes other kids feel. Suggest your child treat others how they want to be treated. 

What does bullying mean long term?

Whether bullying defines your child when they grow up depends on how quickly you catch this behaviour. 🚀 The great news is that kids are so adaptable. 

If you help them early on, they won’t keep bullying, meaning that they won’t carry it through their adult life. Remember to treat them with plenty of affection and reward positive behaviour. 🌞

For more great tips, read our “GoStudent expert talk” on the theme of bullying

Many victims of bullies and bullies themselves find it difficult to concentrate at school. At GoStudent, we have expert tutors that are here to help your child learn in the comfort of their home. Book a trial lesson with one of our top tutors today.