Strong connections form great defence against bullying

August 17, 2023 | Triple P News

3 min read

Parenting experts at the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program are reminding parents and carers this National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence (18 August) of the crucial role they play in providing a safe and supportive environment for their children.

But could this year’s theme ‘building connections to prevent bullying’ be the answer to combatting what is a concern for families and children across the country?

Dr Alan Ralph, Triple P International Head of Training and clinical psychologist, explains bullying is a pervasive issue that affects children of all ages and backgrounds, and it’s common for parents and carers to worry about the impact it has on a child's wellbeing.

“Over half (53%) of parents believe bullying and cyberbullying to be a major health concern for their children, but the good news is with the right tools and strategies, parents and carers can help their child develop positive social skills and build stronger friendships - a great defence against bullying,” says Dr Ralph.

To support parents in helping their children, Triple P suggests:

  • Model positive behaviour: be a role model for your child by demonstrating kindness, respect and empathy in your own day-to-day life.
  • Positive connections: encourage your child to develop positive relationships with peers and other trusted adults like a teacher or family friend, who can provide support and guidance.
  • Provide a warm, supportive, loving environment for your child to help them cope with life’s uncertainties, as well as act as a safe haven to return to at the end of the day.
  • Build resilience: help your child develop coping skills and a strong sense of self-worth to navigate future challenging situations. 
  • Listen actively: when parents give children full attention it builds trust and connection, which are the building blocks that help children communicate, share and express their feelings.
  • Work with (not against) your child's school: keep the lines of communication open with teachers and support staff to address any incidents promptly. 
  • Seek support: don’t be afraid to seek out help for yourself or your child - there are resources available to help parents navigate bullying-related issues, including Kids Helpline, eSafety Commissioner, and Parentline. 

Triple P’s Dr Ralph also shared the red flags that may mean your child is being bullied.

“These signs may include increased anxiety, fearfulness or physical symptoms like headaches or a sore tummy. Additionally, a lack of appetite, trouble sleeping, unexplained injuries, lost belongings or bedwetting can also be indicators. Your child may avoid certain situations, become overly or uncharacteristically shy, or participate in risky behaviours.

“Other warning signs include negative self-talk, low self-esteem and struggling to express their emotions in healthy ways. Academic performance may also suffer, and your child may be reluctant to discuss school-related matters,” Dr Ralph says.

“It is important to note that these signs may not exclusively indicate bullying and could be related to other mental health concerns. Parents and caregivers should seek assistance from their child's school or general practitioner if they have concerns.”

“Bullying is never okay and can seriously impact a child’s mental health and wellbeing throughout their school years and well into adulthood,” he says.


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