How parents and guardians can prevent bullying

A problem youth can't always solve on their own

Bullying is a power struggle that is difficult to resolve without the help of an adult. In most cases, it requires only a few minutes of intervention to stop, especially if adults act immediately and in a consistent manner. If you are present when bullying occurs, talk to those who are being aggressive. Explain the hurt they are causing and have them make amends to those who were harmed. This can break the cycle.

Did you know...

Set the example

Always consider how you treat others and how you allow others to treat you. As a role model, your actions and reactions can influence how youth relate to each other.

If a young person tells you someone is being bullied

Listen - and take it seriously even if it seems trivial, such as name-calling. Youth usually go to adults with these problems only as a last resort. In a very small number of cases, bullying behaviour is a chronic problem requiring the involvement of families and the assistance of a health professional.

What else can you do?

Parents and guardians:

  • Talk, talk, talk. Don't wait for your child to come to you, bring up the conversation about bullying if you suspect or see/hear something.
  • Talk to the adults who were in charge when the bullying occurred to find ways to remedy the problem and prevent future situations.
  • If presented with the opportunity, confront the child, teen or group guilty of bullying and explain to them the hurt they cause.
  • Stop any bullying behaviour at home, because consistency matters.

Adults responsible for young people (such as teachers, principals, coaches and other leaders)

  • Be aware of the social interactions in your group of children - separate youth who tend to have negative interactions with others.
  • Place left-out youth in groups where they will be accepted - try to avoid situations that will victimize at-risk youth (for example, don't have peers pick group partners or teams).
  • Support other adults who work directly with youth to end bullying - by enforcing the separation of disruptive teens, increasing supervision in bullying hotspots and placing vulnerable youth in positive groups.

Did you know...

Anti-bullying policies

Leaders of organizations responsible for young people can create anti-bullying policies that clearly set the limits on acceptable behaviour. Include meaningful consequences in the policy to help teach aggressive youth healthier ways of interacting. Allow time for the policy to be reviewed and agreed upon by everyone (including teens), and ensure the policy is consistently and universally applied by all involved.

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