Adolescent Bullying

24 May 2017

Bullying is repetitive behaviour towards another which involves one or more of the following: teasing or taunting, exclusion, physical harm. It may occur face-to-face, in school and/or online. Approximately 15% of school children experience bullying in any given week and one in five will be victims during their lifetime. But what can be done to assist young people and their parents?

Prevention is always better than cure. Parents should try and promote good relationships with their children from an early age in order to increase the child’s capacity to build healthy relationships with their peers, set clear expectations for your child’s conduct, provide high quality support and resources, and talk to your child about empathy but also demonstrate this through action. Schools also have a role to play, which includes educating students about the harms of bullying and maintaining systems which support victims and perpetrators of bullying.

Signs that your child may be a victim of bullying, include; changes in sleep and appetite, repeated sickness or school refusal, visible marks or bruises and belongings which are damaged or disappear.  If you have concerns that your teen is being bullied, talk with them.  Ask them for detailed information about what is happening, let them know it is not okay and that you don’t expect them to put up with it or face the problem alone.

Work together with your child and other parties, such as the school, to resolve the problem. This can increase information sharing, sends a message to your adolescent that others take their concerns seriously and increases their support network. Schools are well equipped to deal with bullying when they are aware it is occurring. Schools have policies and resources to assist young people who are experiencing or perpetrating bullying, i.e., welfare co-ordinators, career counsellors, alternative education pathways, chaplains and psychologists.

If bullying is associated with other mental health conditions, self-harm or suicide, do not delay seeking help and consider consulting with your family doctor.

Resources for bullying prevention and awareness are listed below. Get involved!


By Kelly Higginbotham, Clinical Psychologist at Seed Psychology

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