You asked

How do I speak to my child about bullying?

Talking to your children about bullying, whether they have been exposed or not, will help them understand what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable.
 
Discussing bullying with your child can help them gain a better understanding of the issue. While bullying is being discussed in schools nationwide, it also needs to take place in the home.  It will show your children that you understand and also set in place family values that show bullying as being unacceptable.
 
You should try to include the following key points in your conversation:
 
  • Bullying is completely unacceptable, it is not to be tolerated and it is completely wrong. Discuss what your child should do if they are bullied or if they ever see someone else being bullied.  (I.e. tell a teacher)
  • Tell your child that bullying is everyone’s problem. Ask them how they would feel if they saw another child being bullied.
  • Encourage independent behaviour- impress upon your child the importance of thinking for themselves and not copying unacceptable behaviour of others.
  • Stress the fact that if someone is bullied it’s never their fault. Tell your child that nobody deserves to be bullied.
  • What if it happens to your child? Make sure your child understands what they should do if they are ever faced with a bully.
  • What would you do as a parent –let your child know how you would react if they were bullied. Ask them how they would like you to respond.
  • Tell your child it’s ok to ask for help, it doesn’t make them a snitch. Make sure that they understand that it’s not the same as trying to get someone in trouble.
  • Encourage your child to be a friend to someone who is being bullied. Maybe your child and their friends could make an effort to include them.  Let them know how this could make a huge difference in the life of another person. 

More questions

It's important to speak to your child about bullying to help them understand what behaviour is and isn't acceptable.
Recently, there has been an increase in the amount of children being sent abusive text messages.
There are many ways that you can help your child make friends at school. 
It's an unfortunate fact of life but kids do tease each other. It's important to teach your child how to deal with being teased. 
Children who bully want to exert control over their lives-even if it's just making someone else's life miserable.
This can be a difficult realisation to come to but there are some signs to watch out for which could indicate that your child is a bully. 
Parents often fear that if they report that their child is being bullied to the school that nothing will be done.
Your child's school should have a very clear policy on how to deal with bullying.
In recent times, cyber bullying has become all too common. 
There are lots of things that you as a parent can do to help prevent and reduce the chances of your child being bullied.

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