What is Bullying?
Bullying is when someone deliberately scares, intimidates, upsets, or harms someone else. There are lots of different types of bullying including:
- making things up to get someone in trouble, or to turn their friends against them
- hitting, pinching, biting, pushing and shoving
- taking or damaging someone’s things
- making threats
- prank calling or messaging
- ‘cyberbullying’ is when someone scares, intimidates, upsets, or threatens you online – this could be on websites chat functions, via apps, or on social media
Sometimes children and young people bully one another, and sometimes children and young people are bullied by adults.
None of this is ok. Sometimes people bully others because they are having a hard time and feeling difficult emotions themselves.
I think my child is being bullied
If you suspect your child is being bullied, there are signs to look out for including bruises or marks on them, possessions being broken or going missing, your child becoming quiet and withdrawn, changes in mood and behaviours, not wanting to go to school and a drop in grades.
What can I do if my child is being bullied?
When finding out your child is being bullied many parents will worry about how to deal with bullying, whether they should take a proactive approach and speak to the bully’s parents or whether they should complain to the school.
It can be very emotive and can bring up lots of feelings for you as the parent. It’s important not to act on these emotions but instead to remain calm and talk to your child about what’s happening to them and how they feel.
Show them they have your support and try to figure out a way forward together.
Make sure you listen to your child, many children keep being bullied a secret as they don’t want things to get worse.
Depending on how serious the bullying is, you may want to involve your son or daughter’s school. All schools are legally required to have an anti-bullying policy, which means they must have measures in place designed to stop bullying. You are able to request a copy of this if you don’t already have one.
What if things don’t get better?
Sometimes, bullying can be persistent and it may take time for it to stop. Keep a diary of any further incidents, including details on what happened – and the effect on your child. Inform the school every time an incident happens and keep working with them to address the problem. Schools have a variety of options for dealing with bullying, from warnings to full time exclusions.
Online Bullying also known as cyber bullying or trolling, is becoming more commonplace, and can be even harder to know about as a parent. This can happen on various platforms such as online gaming, social media apps, instant messengers and chat groups.
There may be no release from this type of bullying as it can happen all the time, it is not restricted to school hours.
Online bullying can be by someone known to your child or can be anonymous.
You should approach online bullying as you would any other type – by working with your child and the school to make sure it stops.