This week’s highlight is Bullying Awareness, we’ve got a couple of blogs you can find on our Articles section of our website to help with this subject, and in this blog, we thought we would cover the most important points to read right at your fingertips.
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 to 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, if at all.
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.
How can I help my child?
After considering the notes above, should you feel you need to intervene, we have some helpful notes to consider below.
- 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.
- 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.
- Make the school aware of your concerns, calmly discuss the problem and choose your words carefully, sticking to facts and avoiding opinions.
- 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.
- 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.
- MeeTwo – This App provides a safe and secure forum for teenagers to discuss issues affecting their lives. They can receive anonymous help and advice from mental health experts, as well as peers who may be going through similar experiences. All posts are fully moderated to eliminate bullying, judgment or humiliation. It focusses on positive support to build self-confidence, increase well-being and grow emotional resilience.
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.