11+ years: Bullying and friendship problems

Friends are very important to children.  they thrive when they have supportive friendships and can be lonely and unhappy when things go wrong.

There are many reasons why a child may be picked on or be aggressive or unkind to others.  Your children need you to help them learn how to make friends, to be a listening ear and to take appropriate action to help stop bullying.

Bullying is a serious problem which undermines young people's confidence and sense of self-worth.

 What Counts as Bullying?

  • It can include hitting and threats, harsh or insulting words (written, sent by email, text or spoken), enforced silence, spreading rumours, stealing or damaging possessions.
  • Bullying often includes picking on people for being different (race, religion, disability, sexuality or family problems)
  • Bullying can happen within friendship groups and may be seen as 'punishment' for doing something wrong.
  • Unhappy children are more likely to bet bullied, and are also more likely to bully others.


Encourage Friendships

  • Encourage them to invite friends round
  • Help them find ways to make friends, such as joining things
  • Try not to criticise their friends
  • Talk about any worries
  • Listen to their point of view

Notice Signs of Unhappiness, such as:

  • Unwillingness to go to school
  • Losing money or possessions
  • Spending a lot of time alone
  • Sudden changes in who they spend time with

Boost Confidence & Self-Esteem

  • Praise them, even for small, everyday things
  • Let them know you enjoy their company
  • Show you're impressed and pleased when they do well
  • Be interested in what they think and do

If Your Child Is Being Bullied

  • Make it clear it's not their fault
  • Let them know it's good to tell you
  • Reassure them you can help
  • Discuss ways to handle it
  • Talk to the school and make sure you know how they are dealing with it

If Your Child Is Bullying Others

  • Try and find out why
  • Let them know you love them, though not the bullying
  • Talk about feelings, not the detail of who did what
  • Help them to say sorry and mean it
  • Help them accept the consequences of what they've done


  • Show you care that they are unhappy
  • Talk to school and other parents
  • Be confident about taking action - they need your help
  • Aim to change behaviour and feelings, not look for blame


Is the information on this page correct? If not, please let us know.