Working with families whose child is bullying

An evidence-based guide for practitioners
CFCA Paper No. 26 – July 2014

How to use this guide

This guide aims to provide practitioners and other professionals with information on school bullying and ways to work with and support families with a child who is bullying others. It provides an overview of the issue of bully, how to identify children who bully, and approaches to managing bullying. It can be read in conjunction with the related publication, Children Who Bully at School.

The guide also represents a starting point from which practitioners can consider:

  • assessing the prevalence and nature of the child's bullying behaviour, including using psychometric resources and questions;
  • examining risk and protective factors associated with bullying by pinpointing where the problems are in the family and the child who is affected, and identifying conditions that can protect against those problems; and
  • supporting children who bully and their families by providing an overview of what works in bullying intervention and key issues to consider in engaging and supporting families.

The information and tools presented are not intended to be prescriptive, but instead represent useful resources from which a practitioner can selectively draw upon when working with families of children who are bullying.

Specifically, the tools and resources represent a combined approach for risk assessment that will assist practitioners to:

  • assess the nature of the bullying problem;
  • evaluate whether factors in the child's family environment create a risk of bullying;
  • identify areas in which a child and family might need help; and
  • help to plan measures and activities to reduce those risks.

Where possible, information should be gathered from multiple sources, such as interviews with the child, parents, and educators; observation; records of recent events; and the child's school history.