Michelle Barratt Psychology - Brisbane Child Clinical Psychologists


Michelle Barratt is a Brisbane based Clinical Psychologist, shares tips on detecting whether your child is being bullied, and how you can help.

Children or Adolescents being bullied

Can be detrimental to a child’s sense of self worth, leaving them with low levels of self-esteem as well as interfering with the development of their identity through adolescence.

Early detection of bullying is crucial!

Bullying is a form of aggression where victim is left feeling helpless and vulnerable. Mostly the exchange is about the bully using aggression and control to maintain a position of power. Fundamentally the language or physical behaviour used is demeaning and disrespectful. Over time the power dynamics and inequality in the relationship become stronger, leaving the victim feeling hurt, abused and completely disarmed. Bullying takes many forms. There are many overt and covert behaviours that constitute bullying: physical, psychological, verbal, social exclusion, hitting, kicking, punching, pushing/shoving, stealing, insults, name-calling, threats, comments about how someone looks or talks, comments about someone’s ethnicity (culture, colour or religion), gossiping, rumours, ignoring, not including someone in group activities, damaging belongings (clothes, toys, etc).

Bullying, withdrawn, teary, feeling sick, sore tumm, nightmare, bed wetting, school refusal
How can I tell if my child is being bullied?
Here are ten signs which may indicate your child is being bullied:
  1. Your child may seem to shut down: becoming quieter, more withdrawn and tending to want to keep to themselves.

  2. You may notice that your child becomes quick to anger, or more aggressive.

  3. Your child may become more teary and more sensitive about things they never used to feel sensitive about.

  4. Your child may not tolerate the same things they were usually able to tolerate or do.

  5. Loss of interest in things that they used to like doing.

  6. Complaints of a sore tummy, feeling sick, or saying they have headaches.

  7. Loss of interest in playing with their friends, doing their homework and going to school.

  8. Loss of appetite.

  9. Your child may start having nightmares or bed-wetting, or is not sleeping well.

  10. School refusal.


10 Tips to Help Your Child Beat the Bullies
  1. Ensure that your children know about what being bullied means, and what it looks like.

  2. Communication, communication, communication! Encourage your child to talk to you every day not just about the positive things that happen in their lives, but also about the negatives and things that are hurting them.

  3. Make sure your child understands that being bullied does not mean there is anything wrong with them, and that there is no shame in accessing help and support straight away.

  4. Being bullied is not only inappropriate behaviour but totally unacceptable. Fundamentally being bullied is NOT a normal part of growing up and should not be ignored.

  5. Help children understand that more often than not – being bullied usually doesn’t just go away, but often gets worse with time, making early intervention critical.

  6. Bullies should be dealt with face to face and not through any means of social media.

  7. Teach your child to use assertive communication, perhaps through role playing how they can stand up to their bullies.

  8. Help your child to work out who they can depend on to support them, and how to encourage those children to stand up for them. It can help children if they have a few sentences already practiced that they can use to help break the ice when they are first standing up to or facing their bullies.

  9. Supervise children as much as possible when they are on the computer or when they are using any type of media. If at all possible, keep the computer in a public space in the home and do not allow young children or younger adolescents to have mobiles overnight in their rooms.

  10. Parents and other adults in the home need to be good role models when discussing an issue in the home. Role modelling respectful, assertive and clear communication is a great way to help your child learn appropriate communication when problem-solving.


If you would like help for your child or some support on how you can best parent your child through a bullying situation, please make an appointment with Michelle Barratt.  Michelle can also provide a consult through phone or Skype if you are not based in the Brisbane area.

Author: Michelle Barratt

           Clinical Psychologist   


35 Wondall Road


Qld 4178

Tel: 0401 924 331 

Fax:  (07) 3009 0553


Suite 37, Level 1 Benson House,

No. 2 Benson Street, TOOWONG,

Qld 4066.

Tel: 0411 731 516

Fax: (07) 3009 0075


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Michelle Barratt is a Fellow of the Clinical College at the Australian Psychological Society.