Parenting Australia


5 Votes


If you are a Twitter follower of ours, you would be aware that my son has been going through a bullying phase at school. Kids do not like to tell their parents they are being bullied. Fear of action by the school and more bullying is usually the underlying reason eg, bully says,” You dob on me/us and we’ll ( some threat) you”. I became aware of my son’s plight when his grades dropped drastically, a common symptom of bullying. The protocol to address bullying is to report it to the teacher and the school takes over, keeping parents up to date with developments. I was advised it was ‘agreed banter’ and had been sorted out internally. Three months later my son did not return from sport training until after 7pm and was not answering his phone. He told me that he had spend 2 hours sitting on the side of a busy intersection considering throwing himself in front of a car, can you imagine? Apparently the ‘agreed banter’ had excelled over the last few months to an unbearable level. I have lost all faith in our school and we are moving on, the financial crisis has compromised the schools zero tolerance policy.

If you think your child is being bullied the following may be of assistance.

Bullying may be defined as a student being exposed, repeatedly and over time, to intentional injury inflicted by one or more other students (Olweus, 1993).


  • Involves an imbalance of power of one person, or a group of people, over another person.
  • devalues, isolates and frightens.
  • affects an individual's ability to achieve.
  • has long-term effects on those engaging in bullying behaviour, those who are the subjects of bullying behaviour and the onlookers or bystanders.

Bullying can happen anywhere: at school, travelling to and from school, in sporting teams, between neighbours or in the workplace.

Bullying behaviour can be:

  • verbal - eg. name calling, teasing, abuse, putdowns, sarcasm, insults, threats.
  • physical - eg. hitting, punching, kicking, scratching, tripping, spitting
  • social - eg. ignoring, excluding, ostracising, alienating, making inappropriate gestures.
  • psychological - eg. spreading rumours, dirty looks, hiding or damaging possessions, malicious SMS and email messages, inappropriate use of camera phones.

Ask the school to provide you with the school’s policy on bullying.

If your child becomes a victim of bullying you have a hard road ahead and much patience and restraint needs to be exercised in order to get the best result out of your school, document everything, all correspondence always send an email clarifying the points discussed at any meetings you may have with the school

Don’t talk about it with other parents, Chinese whispers can make life even harder for your child..

Don’t advise your child to fight back, no matter how furious you become.

Request for your child to meet with the school councillor.

Give it time, try all the suggestions the school makes and if at the end it becomes life and death,change schools.


  1. I was saddened to read this article, but it would be accurate to say that there is more bullying not being dealt with every day.
    Your action points and information, I am sure, will save other lives as well. We have to raise awareness and encourage every member of the school community to take responsibility for stamping out bullying.
    I hope that many more parents will read your inspiring letter.
    Ann Foster
  2. thank you for your article and insight very frightening. Bullying is terrible in schools and my son suffered it this year in Prep by being physically and mentally teased by children he did not attend kinder with. Unfortunately you are so right about parents they don;t want to know their kids are bullies and chinese whispers leave you even feeling lower than the low. Thanks for sharing good luck with your son and I hope our issues will be resolved or else yes a new school looks great but very difficult when your partner and son do not want to move school. Even if it is in their best interest. Not easy for everyone involved.
    Schools do nothing and public schools now I have lost heart in even though i am an educator I am so unimpressed with the public school system i think it is a disgrace in how they do not protect children against bullying and blame the child who is being bullied. yes very frustrating.
  3. Thankyou for the article, I have 2 girls in primary year 1 & 2 both are being bullied. I've learnt only recently that the teachers have no idea how to deal with it. Especially if they didn't witness the bullying.My girls are also in the Public system we are changing schools next year. My eldest daughter has been pushed, hit, isolated, insulted, teased & alienated. My 2nd daughter has learning difficulties (dyslexia) Also been called names eg. stupid, dumb, slow, teased, alienated, isolated and insulted. When Monday morning comes & your kids do not want to go to school there is a problem. It affects the rest of the family they come home from school angry everyday. :'(
  4. Just a point of interest - for those whose children do the bullying - what do you let your children watch? Home&Away & Neighbours are simply awful - children really think these situations (the cheating/lying/bad relationships etc) are real and emulate them. So many American shows are all about bullying - they mistake fear for "popularity" - many kids shows portray the bullying as being funny and because our kids are laughing along we think the show must be OK. Jealousy is another great reason for bullying, apparently - Avril Levigne's massive hit "I don't like your girlfriend" never ACTUALLY tells you why this girlfriend is so bad - just that Avril thinks she can tell a guy he's an idiot with bad taste, she's going to damage someone he presumably likes, and that after that he should fall into her arms with delight! LISTEN to what your kids are actually watching or hearing. Tell them it's bad! Don't be afraid to actually say "no, that show's awful, you're not watching it." It'll save the rest of us

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