How to deal with bullying

The statistics show that bullying is a serious problem in Australian schools. 

According to Relationship Australia, 25% of students experience bullying at some point during their schooling years. An estimated 45 million bullying incidents occur in Australian schools each year, affecting around 218,000 people.

What is bullying?

Bullying is any aggressive, intimidating or violent behaviour deliberately intended to upset or harm another person. Bullying is typically repetitive and can cause extreme distress.

Bullying can occur in different ways:

  • Verbal bullying includes teasing, taunting, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments and threats to do harm.

  • Social bullying hurts someone’s social relationships or reputation. The bully may spread rumours about their target, embarrass them in public, exclude them from social events or tell others not to be friends with them.

  • Physical bullying can involve tripping or shoving the person, spitting on them, hitting, kicking or punching them, stealing their pocket money or damaging their property.

  • Cyberbullying involves attacking the target online. This can include spreading gossip or lies about the person, posting insulting comments on social media and sharing embarrassing photos or videos.

How can you spot the signs of bullying in your child?

Your child may hide that they’re being bullied because they’re embarrassed or fear that if you approach the school, it will anger the bully and make things worse.

So what are the common signs that may indicate your child is being bullied?

  • They’re coming home from school upset or teary

  • They have unexplained bruises, cuts or torn clothing

  • They refuse to explain why money or personal items are missing

  • They don’t want to go to school

  • Their grades have dropped

  • Their personality has changed – they’re withdrawn, anxious, angry or depressed

  • Their appetite has changed

  • They’re having nightmares or have reverted to bedwetting 

How to help your child if they are being bullied

 1. Talk about it with your child in a gentle manner

Your child may be reluctant to talk about their experience so don’t push them to speak. Taking a forceful approach could trigger the emotions they feel when bullied and cause them to shut down.

Instead, show compassion and empathy and reassure them that they don’t have to deal with the bully on their own.

2.  Follow the school’s bullying procedures

Emotions can run high when you learn your child is being bullied. You may instinctively want to rush to confront the school or the bully’s parents. Try to remain calm. Schools take bullying seriously, and most have a policy to address it.

First, raise the matter with your child’s teacher. The teacher may approach the parents of the child accused of bullying and inform the school principal if necessary. The teacher should monitor the situation to see if any further incidents occur.

If the situation persists, talk to the school principal or request a meeting with the school board.

3. Seek help from professional

For support dealing with the impacts of school bullying, you and your child can reach out to a range of organisations including:

·       Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

·       Lifeline: 131 114

·       Headspace: 1800 650 890 

At Flexischools, we know parents have a lot on their plates. If your child’s school uses Flexischools, you can pre-order and pay for your child’s lunch via the Flexischools app when packing a school lunch is difficult. Find out more about Flexischools here.

Want to learn more about Flexischools? Click here.


How to teach children about financial planning


8 clever school lunch ideas