Supporting Your Child Through Bullying: A Parent’s Guide

Supporting Your Child Through Bullying: A Parent’s Guide

Children can engage in bullying for various reasons, for example this behaviour may serve as their coping mechanism for dealing with difficult situations. Whilst this can sometime help a little in understanding the other child’s behaviour, it never justifies or make bullying acceptable. Dealing with bullying is a very challenging experience for any child. As a parent or caregiver, it can feel very difficult to know what to do.

In this blog, we’ll explore the steps you can take to help your child or young person facing bullying.

Open Communication

The first step is to establish open communication with your child. Initiate a conversation and let them know you’ve noticed changes in their behaviour. Explain what the signs of bullying are and reassure them that you are there to listen and support them whenever they are ready to talk.

Listening and Support:

If your child does choose to open up, it’s essential to listen and offer support and comfort. Many children and young people may feel anxious, embarrassed, or upset about their experiences, and your understanding can make a world of difference. Remind them that bulling is not their fault, and you are here to support them.

Suggest Trusted Adults:

If your child isn’t comfortable talking to you about the bullying, let them know they can confide in another trusted adult. Emphasise that your support remains unwavering.

Contact the School:

In many cases, bullying occurs within the school environment. Reach out to the school to discuss your concerns with their teacher, head of year, or pastoral team. Schools typically have anti-bullying policies, request to see this and a meeting with the relevant staff member. Ensure that the meeting has tangible actions, make notes of what these are, and the timescales in which they will be done.

Most schools are committed to addressing bullying effectively, and in a timely manner. However, if you find that you are not making the progress that you had hoped with the school, you can write a formal letter to the Head of School or the Governors. If you are not getting the response you need, do not be afraid to escalate your concerns and request further meetings.

Reporting Online Bullying:

When bullying occurs online through social media or gaming platforms, it’s important to take action. You can report these incidents to the respective platforms, as they often have rules and mechanisms in place to combat online bullying. You can also request the removal of bullying content shared online. Support your young person to use social media safely.

Keep a diary:

It can be very helpful and important to keep a detailed log of what your child has reported, and when. Also you can list what you have also observed. This can be a written list, photographs, screenshots of texts etc. It is helpful if your child can share any evidence with you, you could ask them directly to contribute to a log of events.

Encourage them to spend time doing things they enjoy:

Being bullied is awful and can feel all consuming.  Understandably a young person might want to retreat. Help them make time for things that they enjoy, find peers who treat them well, and do things as a family that help your child connect and relax.

Bullying as a Hate Crime:

If your child is being bullied based on a protected characteristic, it constitutes a hate crime and is against the law. In such cases, you could report it to the police either via phone (101) or online.

Seek Professional Help:

If you suspect that your child’s mental health is suffering due to the bullying, consider seeking professional help. Contact your GP, who can either refer your child to the necessary services or, if needed, recommend therapy to help manage their mental health.

Supporting a child or young person through the difficult experience of bullying is a critical responsibility. Open communication, active listening, and taking appropriate actions, such as involving the school or reporting online bullying, can make a significant difference. Remember that professional help is available for those who need it, and your support as a parent or caregiver can be a crucial source of strength during these challenging times.

We understand seeking therapy can be daunting for both you and your child and that taking the first step can be hard. We have a team of professional and friendly child therapists who can work together with you and your child to design a bespoke and flexible treatment which works best for them. Our children’s therapy services are available for children and teenagers aged 5 to 17, at our clinics in York, Manchester and online.

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