Bullying can occur anywhere whether it’s at school, online or in communities. Bullying can have a long lasting effect on children so whether you spot it early or late on, it’s important to know what to do and how to stop it.
Spotting the signs of bullying
There could be any number of physical, emotional or psychological signs or indicators that a child is being bullied.
For example, physical signs might include unexplained injuries (bruises, cuts, scratches). Emotional or psychological signs such as changes in sleeping patterns, becoming withdrawn or losing self esteem and confidence might also offer clues.
Odd or erratic behaviour such as mood swings or reluctance to socialise with others are also possible pointers to being bullied.
What to do if you think your child is being bullied
It’s not easy for any parent who might think that their child is being bullied. However, it’s important to try and stay calm (and not get angry or upset) when you talk to your child.
In some cases, children may feel that they are at fault for being bullied so it’s essential to offer reassurance that this isn’t the case. After talking through the problem, ask your child how they would like you to resolve the issue. This can help them feel included in the decision and can stop them from worrying about what happens next, where normally an adult who takes full ownership of the situation avoiding further stress and panic for a child.
- Explain that being bullied isn’t a sign of weakness and that being a bully isn’t a sign of strength
- Encourage your child to feel confident even if they don’t
- Explain that bullies in most cases are looking for physical or psychological reactions and that ignoring them can in some cases be the best way handle them
- Encourage your child to join a club or try a new activity. Martial Arts classes for example can help children build up their confidence and self esteem while making new friends in the process
Further advice and guidance
From 14th-18th November is Anti Bullying Week. This year’s theme is ‘Power For Good’ which aims to ‘support children and young people to use their Power for Good – by understanding the ways in which they are powerful and encouraging individual and collective action to stop bullying and create the best world possible.’
To find out more visit the Anti Bullying Alliance website