How To Help A Bullied Child

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For parents, the specter of bullying looms as a persistent concern. Amidst the veil of secrecy shrouding our children’s school experiences, it can be daunting to discern their social interactions and know how to support them should they encounter bullying.

According to the Anti-Bullying Alliance, at least 1 in 4 young people experience bullying, with children with disabilities or special educational needs facing twice the risk.

The repercussions of bullying often extend beyond the immediate, leading to truancy, sleep disturbances, and mental health issues, which can persist into adulthood.

Hence, it’s imperative that we strive to shield and aid our children in dealing with bullying to the best of our abilities.

But how can parents discern if their child is being bullied?

Signs to watch out for include:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Social withdrawal
  • School avoidance
  • Unexplained injuries
  • Diminished self-esteem

However, despite a strong parent-child bond, many instances of bullying go unreported, as children may feel embarrassed or fear retaliation.

If you suspect bullying, approach your child gently and supportively. Should initial attempts to elicit information fail, liaise with the school and express your concerns to their form tutor or safeguarding lead.

In the event that your child is indeed being bullied, gather all relevant information and promptly contact the school to arrange a meeting with safeguarding staff. Approach the discussion in a non-confrontational manner, providing detailed accounts of the bullying incidents and seeking clarification on the school’s planned course of action.

Should you find the school’s response inadequate, don’t hesitate to escalate your concerns to higher authorities, such as the head of year or headteacher, or even the governing body. If the school governors receive an allegation of bullying direct to them, they’re duty bound to investigate so this is a good way of making sure action is taken. (Not to mention the fact that it then has to be disclosed to OfSted along with what action was taken!)

In today’s digital age, bullying extends beyond the confines of school corridors, manifesting in the form of cyberbullying through social media platforms like TikTok, Twitter, and messaging apps. Examples of cyberbullying include spreading rumors, posting humiliating content, and issuing threats.

If your child is targeted online, document all evidence and consider involving either the school or law enforcement, depending on the severity of the situation.

While navigating the complexities of bullying, reassure your child of their safety and emphasize open communication about their experiences and emotions. Establish your home as a sanctuary where they can seek solace and support.

Limit screen time and ensure devices are kept out of bedrooms at night to maintain oversight of their online interactions and promote healthy bedtime routines. Encourage your child to view home as their “safe space” and share your own experiences with bullying if applicable, illustrating how you overcame adversity.

By fostering a supportive environment and advocating for your child’s well-being, you can empower them to navigate the challenges of bullying with resilience and fortitude.

For more resources:

Anti-Bullying Alliance

Act Against Bullying

National Bullying Helpline

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