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How to Respond (Intervention)

Validate your child’s feelings and empathize

Role-play with your child to show them positive ways to handle bullying or conflict. Give them tips on how to take a stand in a nonaggressive way.

Give them a scenario and have them look you in the eye and tell you to stop firmly. If the child does not feel safe or this is a serious situation repot it immediately.

Enroll your child in a skills course (FRIENDS for Life – Resiliency)

Model good relationships at home

Increase social interactions -hanging out with friends, walking home with someone

Look into mentoring programs that will help your child gain positive attention and foster new interests

Help your child. Adults must make it safe to report bullying

If at school, get the school involved – talk with school administrators and teachers

Develop safety plan with the school or organization- see safety planning section

Encourage your child to stay away from the person or the situation while the investigation takes place and a solution is reached.

Access community-based supports Community Health and Resource Centres located across the city of Ottawa

Monitor what your child watches on TV.

Enroll your child in activities in and out of school like sports, art, drama, etc.

Focus on the behaviour, not the child

Make sure positive feedback out-numbers negative 3-1

Explore ways of dealing with conflict

Examine your own behaviour -model healthy relationships and communication at home

Enroll your child in supervised activities (FRIENDS for Life, empathy training, sports, clubs etc.)

Monitor your child’s behaviour

Build empathy by teaching them to put themselves in someone else’s shoes.

Understand why the child is bullying, they may need additional support from mental health agencies

Use formative consequences- opportunities to teach more pro-social  skills



Children can play powerful roles in preventing or stopping bullying. There are many things they can do to make a difference:

They can directly intervene

They can support the person being bullied

They can discourage the bullying by redirecting the situation away from the bullying

They can get support from peers

They can report it to a trusted adult

Help children understand the important role they play:

Let them know that harassing, teasing, spreading rumours of any sort including social media networking sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,  etc. is never okay.

Help them understand the impact of this behaviour

To never stand by and watch or encourage the behaviour

If children feel safe help them develop assertiveness skills to take a stand

To support the person who is being bullied to ask for help, or report it.

To show them how they can help their friend get help or report the incident

If children do not feel safe encourage them to report bullying to a trusted adult

Help them identify adults they can trust

Adults have a responsibility to keep children safe.






1. Give yourself time to process your emotions. Learning that your child was bullied – or bullied someone else – can be very painful. Listen carefully to the information and if necessary give your self some time before moving forward.
2. Respond empathetically to your child. Take reports of bullying seriously. Always recognize your child’s courage talking about the bullying. Explain to it is your responsibility to help solve the problem and stop the bullying, and this includes reporting the bullying to the school and working cooperatively with the school. Reassure the child who was bullied that he or she has the right to be safe, to be protected by adults at school, and to be treated with respect by everyone. Help the child who bullied understand these rights. Emphasize his or her responsibility to treat others with respect.
3. Visit to gather more information about bullying.
4. Before meeting with school personnel to create a safety plan for your child, or a positive response plan if your child has bullied, set short and long-term goals. It is important to identify what you are trying to accomplish and to know what to expect from the school based on its rights and responsibilities under the legislation.
5. Follow up and monitor how the plan is working. Check in regularly with your child and with the school to ensure that the problem is being addressed and that there have not been any more incidents. Initially check in daily, and then gradually reduce the check-ins to every few days, every week, etc. Often it is necessary to monitor for several months.
6. From the first time you become aware of the situation, keep an ongoing record of what happened, when it happened, what was done, and whether the plan of action was effective in stopping the bullying.
Remember, you are a role model for your children. Children watch what their parents do very closely, and are influenced by your actions as well as your words. If your children see you communicating respectfully and remaining constructive in the face of disagreements with others, they are more likely to behave the same way.

(See section on Creating Safety Plans for support)

It is important that children understand the impact of their actions on others. Formative consequences gives children an opportunity to take responsibility for their actions and to repair the harm they have caused. It also allows them to reflect on their hurtful actions and to learn and practice pro-social  behaviours.

Talk to your child about power and how power can be helpful or hurtful

Help them to take responsibility for their behavior, to understand why it was wrong, and to see how it affects others.

Have your child read a book about bullying and discuss the impact of the behaviour

Engage them in a self-reflection activity that allows them to share how they were feeling and what the other person might have felt and what they could do differently.

Watch a movie about bullying and describe the characters and the consequences of their  actions. Focus on the feelings of the character being bullied. Help them to identify these feelings by looking out for facial expressions, body posture, and tone of voice. Discuss what did help or what could have helped in the situation?

Brainstorm ways that they can do something helpful in the situation

Repair or restore property or personal items damages

Work with your child to build problem-solving skills, empathy, emotional regulation and positive ways to use leadership