Bullying cannot be tolerated, and the anger of a bullied child's parent is understandable - but adults still need to act like adults, say most experts on family-support issues.

Parents Inc chief executive Bruce Pilbrow said schools should lead with a zero-tolerance policy against bullying, including helping children become resilient. Parents also needed to be available so their children could come to them with concerns.

"Violence just sort of feeds the whole thing, but seeing that I haven't had my child come home with a black eye, it's hard," Mr Pilbrow said.

"No one wants to see their child hurt, but you still have to be the adult in the situation."


The issue has flared after mother Mellissa Anderson confronted two 14-year-old girls who attacked her daughter Summer outside Kaipara College in Helensville last Friday.

Anderson has been charged with slapping one of the girls, allegedly while the police were questioning the teenagers.

The three students are at home while the school, which has denied it has a bullying problem, investigates.

Anderson has not entered a plea and is on bail.

Family Works' service manager for Waitakere, Ian Tomkins, said the first thing to do was to stop the bullying and support the victim.

Then the focus would be on finding out exactly what happened and why.

"There will be logical consequences - it really depends on the attitudes of the ones who did the bullying. It could be a supportive programme ... or schools would have their own policies like having [bullies] excluded or stood down," Mr Tomkins said.

"Professionally, Family Works would look at a more mediatory solution. If it's managed well - and it would really have to be managed well - mediation can really work well.


"But some bullies will have an attitude that wasn't conducive - there are just so many factors around it and it has to be voluntary, of course."

Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said parents, in exceptional circumstances, should take control.

"If my child came home, having beaten another child black and blue, and then been smart towards the mother of that child and ended up with a slapped face, I would be saying, 'You got what you deserved'.

"I would then be marching them down to apologise to the victim and the mother," Mr McCoskrie said.

John Cowan, who gives seminars on parenting, said that having the children themselves fight back against bullies sounded good in theory - but often the bullies were simply stronger.