Is your child being bullied? Do you recognise the different types of bullying? Do you know what action to take? 

Any child can be bullied for a number of reasons especially if that child is seen as different in some way, or is seen as an easy target. Bullying is REAL.

Bullying can include:

* Physical: such as hitting, punching, kicking, or stealing or damaging property or belongings of someone else.

* Verbal: such as name-calling, putdowns, mocking, labelling and threatening.

* Social: such as ignoring or leaving someone out intentionally, excluding from a group, or spreading rumors about him/her.

* Psychological: nasty looks, stalking, manipulating someone to think bullying is a figment of his/her own imagination.

* Cyberbullying: such as mocking or intimidating someone through text messages, social networks or hacking into one’s account. 

Mummy’s please don’t underestimate the effects of bullying on your children as these effects can last into their adulthood. And worst case scenario, bullying has driven children and young people to self-harm and even suicide. This is why we need to pay attention to this topic and help our children before it’s too late.

Firstly if your child is being bullied, they need guidance, love and support, both at home and at school. Secondly, we have to remember that there is not only a responsibility upon the child being bullied, the parent and the school. However the bully, the witness and the community also have an important role to play.

 ✍️ Below I have suggested what positive action each role can take.

🧒 To the child:

It’s not ok for anyone to bully you and make you feel like you don’t want to go to school. And it is not your fault if that happens. Your school have a responsibility to protect you from being bullied, there are lots of things they can do to help you but they will need to know about it first.

Telling your parents or teachers or even your friends about being bullied can feel really scary. You might worry about what the bullies will do or how other people might react to your telling. It is really important to tell someone when you feel ready, so they can do something to make the bullying stop.

Keeping a bullying diary can be a helpful way to keep a record of what’s been happening, and how it makes you feel. That way you would have something to show to someone at home or at school when you feel ready to tell.

👨‍👩‍👧 To the parents of the victim:

Be approachable and when your child seems different or upset, investigate the situation and never ignore any red flags. Your kids may or may not want to talk, but be persistent. Stay curious. Ask questions. Although it may be tempting to give them advice or suggestions, focus on listening to them more than you speak.

Talk to the teachers, other parents and the school. Be very vocal. Change starts with conversation. You could even start an anti-bullying or wellness initiative. The more involved you are, the better. Do not let yourself feel like you’re a burden to the school if you sense something is wrong. You need to be in touch with the school and work together to make sure your child is safe.

👩‍🏫 To the school:

The schools role is a HUGE part of resolving a bullying situation. It is important to establish a school culture that is clearly pro-learning, and where all members of the school community receive and communicate clear, coherent messages that ‘this is a place of learning where violence is neither accepted or expected’ is a powerful step towards preventing bullying. Bullying prevention needs to be an ongoing aspect of a school system.

The class teacher should meet with your child to learn about the bullying that he or she has experienced. During this meeting, they should reassure your child that they will try their hardest to make sure that the bullying stops. A plan should be developed that will keep your child safe and the staff should remain alert for any signs of bullying in the future.

Also teachers should meet with the children who are suspected of taking part in the bullying. During this meeting, teachers should make it clear that bullying is not tolerated and is against school rules. The teacher can impose consequences if they see it necessary. The child who bullied may lose privileges like recess or their parents may be notified.

👶 To the witness:

Be a hero. When children who are bullied are defended and supported by their classmates, they are less anxious and depressed than those who are not.

Ask someone for help – it’s ok if you can’t physically help, or if you’re not comfortable speaking up. Find an adult or someone you trust to help the person being bullied. Let the person bullied know they aren’t alone bullies often feed off of attention and an audience that doesn’t try to stop what happens. If you walk away and convince others to do so, quite often that bully will have no motivation to continue what they’re doing.

👨‍👩‍👦 To the bully and their parents:

Children and young people don’t always realise what they’re doing is bullying, or understand how much their actions have hurt someone. It must be explained to the bully that what they’re doing is unacceptable.

The bullies parents have a key role in helping their child to recognise the harm they have caused and they must encourage them to change their behaviour in the future. 

🙋‍♀️🙋‍♂️🙋‍♀️🙋‍♂️ To the community:

We must act as role models and arrange workshops for families to educate ourselves about the harmful effects of bullying, this will make children more aware of their boundaries- especially if they see this is a community fight against it.

The community can help to set clear expectations of the behaviour that is and isn’t acceptable and help stop negative behaviours escalating.

⚠️ Finally, if we don’t be vigilant parents, speak up and play our role before bullying happens or whilst it is happening, then we could find our children are suffering. Bullying can affect everyone, those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide. It is important to talk to young people to determine whether bullying or something else is a concern before it’s too late.

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