Psychologist’s top tips for helping your child avoid getting caught up in bullying

After a fight was captured on camera at an Auckland school, Seven Sharp decided to invite an expert on the show to give parents advice about how to deal with bullying.

Dr Emma Woodward says prevention, rather than cure, is always best. Source: Seven Sharp

Doctor Emma Woodward is a child psychologist and says parents need to understand bullying and know peer pressure is like a spell.

"If you think about for an adult, we have rules and norms so asking a teen to stand up to peers where there's many of them is a bit like asking an adult to call out bunch of important bosses.

"You generally wouldn't do that, you'd do what was expected and feel bad about it later on."

Don't blame and shame

"It's a fine line between victim and perpetrator, some are perpetrators because they're scared of becoming victims.

"To be able to be reflective, we need to feel safe, with no fear of reprisal and not being judged or shamed for behaviour," Dr Woodward says.

Secret code

Dr Woodward says prevention, rather than cure, is always best, so consider creating a secret code.

"When they feel out of control, or out of managing a situation get your child to send a text with just an x, then ring them straight back saying they have to come home.

"That way they have an excuse to leave without losing face, ‘mum's called I have to go’."