Safety at School


Myths About Bullying

NSW public school counsellor Caroline Powell talks about the myths surrounding bullying, including what kids should do and why certain people are targeted.


As a school counsellor I take bullying really seriously.

Parents need to understand the difference between normal school yard conflict and intentional, repeated acts of bullying.

I’ve often heard parents tell their kids just to “ignore” the bully and it will stop.

If we were only talking about a bit of playground teasing this might be true – but most kids who bully will go on harrassing and hurting others until action is taken to make them stop.

At times I also see a reluctance from parents to report the bullying.

There is absolutely no shame in confiding in a figure of authority, like a teacher, a sports coach or a school principal, and asking for help.

This is not telling tales or ratting on someone.

Bullying is a serious offence, that can have life-long consequences for all kids involved, if it’s left to go on unchecked.

It is really important your child feels supported and that you encourage them to report the problem.

It’s not helpful for an adult to tell a child that bullying can be character building.

You’ll hear some parents say things like “it never did me any harm” or “you need to toughen up”.

Your child has done nothing wrong. Don’t make them feel even worse by blaming them.

I’ve also heard parents tell their kids to fight back. I would never encourage a child to hit back.

Schools are obliged to suspend any students who are violent. And as we all know, violence often leads to more violence – rarely does it solve a conflict.

Lastly, parents often ask ‘why my child?’,  ‘What’s wrong with my child?’

It’s difficult to predict who who be a target of bullying or why and in this age of anonymous cyberbullying any child can be harassed.

Please remember that if your child has been targeted it doesn’t mean they have done anything wrong or that they deserved it in any way.

Please support your child and ensure they get help.



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