PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead

Find out what the different types of bullying look like and what do if your child is being bullied or if they are the bully.

Key points

  • Bullying can take many different forms including hurting people physically, gossiping, teasing, and cyberbullying.
  • If your child has been threatened or assaulted, call the police.

What does bullying look like?

Bullying can take many different forms. It includes:

  • Punching, shoving and other acts that hurt people physically
  • Spreading rumours about people
  • Keeping certain people out of a group
  • Teasing people in a mean way
  • Getting other people to bully someone else
  • Sending harassing or threatening messages online or by text message (cyberbullying)
  • Threatening to do any of the above

What can I do if my child is being bullied?

Many children will have to deal with bullying at least once, but some children deal with it every day. If a child is being bullied, they may feel embarrassed or afraid to tell someone what is happening. If your child tells you that they are being bullied, reassure them that it is not their fault and you will work together to stop the bullying.

Some children will show changes in behaviour when they are being bullied, such as talking less, spending more time alone, or being unhappy and irritable. If you suspect your child is being bullied but they do not say anything to you or deny it if you ask them, let them know that you are concerned about them. If they do not feel comfortable talking to you, ask them if they would feel more comfortable talking to another adult they trust such as a teacher or guidance counsellor. You could also contact your child's school to let them know you are concerned.

If your child has been assaulted, you should contact the police.

Try giving the following advice to your child who is being bullied:

  • Act brave, even if you don’t feel it. Bullies want to get a reaction out of you. Just ignore them or smile at them if they’re harassing you.
  • Stand up for yourself without being aggressive. Fighting back or being mean back to the bully is not a solution and could end up getting you hurt or into trouble.
  • Hang out with friends who support you. If your friends are the ones who are bullying you, they are not really your friends, and you should find a group of friends who support you and protect you from bullies.

What can I do if my child is a bully?

Children who bully may be trying to cope with their own feelings and difficult situations. Some children who bully are often bullied themselves. Talk to your child about how they are feeling and why. If they do not feel comfortable talking to you, ask them if they would like to speak to a school guidance counsellor or to a therapist.

It’s important to communicate to your child that whatever their reasons for bullying, the behaviour is not appropriate and is harmful to someone else. Focus should be on stopping the bullying behaviour and ensuring your child receives the help they need.

Last updated: May 3rd 2023