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What can parents do to stop bullying?

anti-bullying week

16th – 20th November is Anti-Bullying Week in the UK. While there are events and programmes happening in schools, what can parents and carers do? 

 

Learn about the forms that bullying can take

The Anti-Bullying Alliance defines bullying as “the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power.” This can happen face to face or online.

While we tend to think of bullying in terms of bullies and victims, the dynamics are often more complex, involving groups and social roles that can shift and change quickly. Behaviour that might look or sound innocuous from an outside perspective could be bullying.

Similarly, online bullying can take different forms, especially as platforms, trends and slang changes.

 

Talk to children about it

It can be difficult to talk about bullying, for both children and parents, but it’s a necessary conversation.

Would your child know what to do and who to talk to if they’re being bullied? Would they be able to recognise and stop bullying behaviour from their friends and themselves?

Talk about staying safe online – again, there are some fantastic resources online if you’re unsure about how to have that conversation.

It’s impossible to supervise every single interaction your child has, whether that’s in person or online, so communication and trust is key. Talk about who they interact with, what they share, and make sure they understand how to use security and blocking features.

Knowing the right thing to do is one thing, but it’s easier said than done, especially when facing peer pressure. Building up a child’s confidence and self-esteem will help empower them to make the best decisions.

 

Understand what the school’s responsibilities and powers are 

It’s always worth familiarising yourself with your child’s school’s approach to bullying if you haven’t already. What is your school doing to talk about and combat bullying, not just on Anti-Bullying Week but year-round?

State schools have the power to make sure students behave outside of school premises. This can mean even incidents that happen entirely outside school, for example online bullying, can become a school issue and be addressed through the school.

Take time to find and read the behaviour policy of your child’s school (state schools must have one in place). This behaviour policy should include language about promoting good behaviour and preventing bullying.

While it will vary depending on the individual school and type, schools all have a complaints procedure. It can be helpful to know how this works ahead of time, in the (hopefully unlikely) instance you have to escalate a complaint when an incident of bullying isn’t resolved.

 

Think about your own behaviour

As adults, we can also take the time to think about how we model behaviour around children. Children learn from what we do as much as – if not more than – what we say. They watch and soak up how we treat other people.

How do you resolve conflict with other people? When children do witness negative behaviour from others, do you try to ignore it, or talk to them about what makes behaviour unacceptable?

We can all treat each other with respect and empathy and be great role models for future generations!

 

Anti-Bullying Alliance

You can find out more from the Anti-Bullying Alliance, which is also full of brilliant resources for parents and carers.

Jigsaw Performing Arts is dedicated to developing performance skills, promoting self-expression and building confidence. We offer performing arts classes for children aged between 3 – 18. Find your nearest school by entering your postcode into the search on our home page, and keep in touch with them for updates.