“Kids can be mean”, “getting bullied is just part of growing up”, “just ignore it and they’ll stop”. Those are sentiments we’ve all heard before. And it’s true, kids can be mean, (I write that as someone who spent their formative years as a certifiable nerd, before being a nerd was cool), but just because they can be mean doesn’t mean we should accept that. Being picked on isn’t just part of growing up, and ignoring it doesn’t solve the problem.

At the Red Cross we’re celebrating Pink Day – a day to shine a light on issues surrounding bullying, and build awareness on how to stop it.

Parents can be the first line of defence when it comes to bullying, whether their child is being bullied, is being a bully, or is witnessing it.

How can parents help?
  • Build self-esteem. Let them know you value their contributions, and take the time to celebrate their achievements.
  • If your kid is socially isolated at school, find a community activity for them to get involved with.
  • Teach your kids that if they see someone being bullied they should not laugh, take pictures or video to share on social media, or join in.
  • Pay attention to the relationships in your kid’s peer groups and friends. Make sure everyone is being included and address inappropriate behaviours.
  • Make sure you’re a good role model – be respectful to those around you.
  • Help teach the value of being empathetic and supporting those who are being bullied.
  • Take the time to familiarize yourself with online activities that your kids participate in, like social media apps.
  • Talk to kids about the impact of online bullying.
  • Keep computers in common areas.
  • Report any online harassment, threats or bullying to your local police of Internet provider. Report any harassment, threats or bullying that occurs on your kid’s cellphone to your phone service provider – be prepared to change the phone number if needed. 
  • Make sure you keep communication open, so that your kids feel safe talking about bullying they’ve witnessed or experienced.
Looking for more tips? Download this PDF with some strategies for handling bullying.