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Anti-Bullying Week – how to detect and act on bullying

The early years at school are a challenging time for children in terms of learning to hold their own in a school community situation, where they are getting used to being a part of a large group and developing social skills. At this age, your child will probably come home from time to time and inform you of things other children have said or done at school and it can be difficult to assess how to act on this, if at all. Bullying can happen at any age, not just younger children, and we understand that as children get older the situations can get more and more serious, and again it can be even harder to judge the situation, or even know it is taking place at all, then even harder to act on it.

These situations are serious and need to be handled with care, while we cannot help any further than offering some advice on things to consider before taking any action, we can offer a reassuring ear when you feel the time is right to reconsider your child’s school and education journey. You can get in touch with us when the time suits your family and one of our friendly expert consultants will guide you in the right direction to ensure your child thrives and shines in a supportive and nurturing educational environment.

Some things to consider before taking action:

What are the signs that my child might be being adversely affected by the behaviour of other children?

Victims of teasing, social exclusion or bullying are often shy, lack confidence and tend to be physically smaller than their peers. They may also have poor social skills, which makes it hard for them to bond with other children and create friendships, as well as to stand up for themselves. Sadly, this makes them ‘easy targets’ for bullies, as they do not tend to retaliate. However, there is always more than one perspective on a disagreement between peers, take time to listen to all if stepping in the adjudicate.

Signs to look for in your child are:

  • Increased passivity or withdrawal.

  • Frequent crying and/or not wanting to go to school.

  • Your child consistently complains of an illness when there seems to be nothing wrong.

  • Poor levels of attainment at school.

  • Significant change in the number of invitations or interactions with other people their age.

A time like this is distressing and often overwhelming for both the child and parent, no parent wants to learn that their child is being bullied, and some may feel helpless and almost to blame depending on the circumstances. However, something has to be done and it can be difficult to judge what action to take, especially when you’re unsure of all of the facts. The best thing to do is offer support to your child, there are several ways to do this, and we have listed some below.

How can I help my child?

  1. Listen to your child, note any changes – good and bad – to their attitude, behaviour and take the time to talk to your child about anything that may be bothering them. You can start by asking them about their friends, or what’s happened at school in general – this may spark further discussions if there are any problems.

  2. Reassure your child (even if you spy no signs of unhappiness) that it is okay to reach out, no matter what the problem – big or small.

  3. Read the school Bullying Policy, if you can’t find it on the website or in your parent information pack, ask the school secretary to give you a copy.

  4. Make the school aware of your concerns, calmly discuss the problem and choose your words carefully, sticking to facts and avoiding opinions.

  5. Ask the member of staff you have spoken to at the school to keep you in the loop, ask them to share with you any concerns of similar behaviour from home, at school.

  6. If the teacher is aware and shares your concerns, take time to discuss this further and come up with a solution to conquer the problem rationally. Remember to organise follow up appointments to discuss progress of the solution.

  7. Anti-Bullying Alliance The Anti-Bullying Alliance is a coalition of organisations and individuals that are united against bullying. You can find out more about this organisation over on their website.

If anything, you can take the time to be with your children and be a part of their lives so at the end of the day they know, even when they don’t want to, they have the support and love of their parents no matter what their worries and troubles are.

Spend time together. Play board games, watch a film together, climb trees in the garden, go for a walk with the dog. Encourage children to use their PC or other device downstairs, where you can pop by and look over their shoulder as well as limiting gadget time. A combination of fresh air, exercise and quality time as a family will be to the benefit of all.

Sit around the table for family meals. It’s amazing what you can pick up by talking together as a family while eating a meal together. It always impresses me when I visit boarding schools with in-boarding house dining. I have had some fantastically engaging conversations with young students who have never met me before. They’re building conversational and social skills that will be a huge asset to them in adult life.

The smallest of actions will remind your child that you are always there.

You can talk further about schools, narrowing your choices and discussing the best options of support for your child during their education by clicking here to be taken to our future school services page or clicking here for our boarding school services page. By getting in touch, you will have the opportunity to talk to an education expert who will help guide and support you towards the best options for your child’s future.

We offer lots of advice and other information, about how to ensure your child is thoroughly enjoying their time at their independent or private school via blogs and across our website. You can visit our blogs page to find more subjects of your interest by clicking the button below.

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