Photo: Yağmur Adam
Top tips if your child is being bullied
- If your child tells you they are being bullied, thank them for coming to talk to you. It takes a lot of courage to tell someone you are being bullied but it's the first step to sorting out the problem. Try not to get upset (it may be hard!) Remain calm and assure them that you will help them sort things out. Talk to them about the definition of bullying as a repeated action rather than a one-off but don’t be dismissive if the incident has only happened once. It has obviously had an impact for your child to report it.
- Listen to your child. Ask them to tell you in detail about what has been going on, what the bullying has involved and how it has made them feel.
- Ask your child what steps they would like to take next. It's hard not to take over, but try to avoid this: talk through solutions through with your child. What would they feel comfortable with?
- If the bullying is happening at school ask to see a teacher. This may involve having a phone conversation initially. You may be tempted to talk to the bully’s parents but this can have negative repercussions for your child. A teacher may help to encourage others to keep an eye on your child at school during the day and could also help set up a system (with your child's approval and support) to report any instances of bullying. All schools are required by law to have an Anti-Bullying Policy which outlines how bullying is reported and dealt with in school.
- Talk to your child about whom they can talk to and where they can go if they are being bullied during the day. There may be clubs at break times where they could go to feel less vulnerable.
- Encourage them to not retaliate or react to the bullying, as this often fuels bullying behaviour. Get them to practise being assertive and having strong body language and facial expressions. Tell them to remove themselves from the situation as quickly as they can and to report any instances of bullying to an adult.
- Monitor your child. Ask them how school has gone and check in regularly with a teacher to see how they are getting on during the day. If you don’t get a detailed response ask questions. Stay positive.
- Bullying can hugely reduce a child’s confidence and self-esteem. When your child is at home try to highlight their strengths and do activities which they enjoy and which help relieve stress.
- Keep a log/record of your child’s bullying incidents so you have evidence should you need to take the matter higher up in the school.
- Don’t let the problem get you down. It's understandable to be worried but try to remain positive and not to worry - that's the best route to developing an action plan.
- Give the school chance to work with your child to try and reduce the bullying. If you feel the school is not doing enough to address the bullying, you may want to take the matter to the School Governors.
The Anti-Bullying Ambassador Programme
The Anti-Bullying Ambassador programme is run by the youth charity, the Diana Award. Set up in 2012 the programme aims to give staff and young people the skills, knowledge and confidence to take a lead on tackling bullying in their schools and communities. Our team visit schools and youth organisations in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland to train young people and staff up to help ensure that the 11,000 hours young people spend at school are safe, happy and supportive. Since April 2013 the programme has trained up 6,700 young of all ages and abilities to be Anti-Bullying Ambassadors.
The Anti-Bullying Ambassador programme believes that young people are the best placed to make changes happen and thus adopts a peer-led approach. It shows young people what bullying behaviour looks like, explores the different types of bullying, outlines what to do if they’re being bullied; and gives them tips to reduce bullying. This prepares them to go back to their schools to work at shaping the behaviour and attitudes of their peers and the school as a whole.