Anti-Bullying Week happens in schools across England from Monday 11th November – Friday 15th November 2019. This year the goal is to inform schools, children, young people, parents and carers to know that it takes a collective responsibility to stop bullying. This campaign aims to create empowering, positive messages addressing the fact that when it comes to bullying CHANGE STARTS WITH US!
How can bullying affect young people?
Decreased academic achievement
- Health complaints – physical health
- Thoughts of suicide
- Thoughts of self-harm
- Social problems
- Loss of concentration
- Feeling lonely and isolated
- Difficulties in lifestyle – eating and sleeping
- Mood swings
- Lack of interest in hobbies
If you are being bullied, you are not alone. Bullying is a common problem and help is available. All bullying is wrong and it is important that you talk about the problem with someone you can trust.
- It’s not you, it’s them. It’s important to know that being bullied is not your fault. No-one has the right to treat you this way.
- Try not to react. Reaction and retaliation are two things the bully strives for. Don’t give it to them. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself, or do something you enjoy.
- Tell someone. It is not always easy to open up about things that hurt or upset us, yet talking to someone we trust can make such a difference. Speaking to a trusted adult or a friend will allow that person to support and advise you about what you are going through.
- Take action. Every individual’s experience of bullying may differ depending on the situation. It is important that you are comfortable with the next step – whether it is telling the people who are bullying you to stop, or learning strategies to help you cope with the bullying you are experiencing. It may even be more beneficial to allow your parents or the school to address the situation.
If you are concerned about someone being bullied
Supporting a loved one who is being bullied is not easy, and this can be an extremely difficult time both for you as the concerned other and the person being bullied. However, here are some suggestions on how to help a loved one get help:
- Actively listen. First and foremost, it is very important that you ‘actively’ listen to your child. This may be the first time they have ever spoken to anyone about what they are experiencing and the first time they have said these things out loud. Be respectful, pay attention and ask open questions without jumping straight into advice or judgement. This is a significant first step in allowing your child to heal.
- Take your time. It is important that you, as a parent or carer, also take time to reflect on what has been said and don’t act impulsively. Children and young people who are experiencing bullying can feel that all power has been taken away from them. Therefore, any immediate or public reaction can make the situation worse for them. Reflection on the situation is vital.
- Look at the alternative. As the saying goes, there are two sides to every story. As a parent, ensure that you have tried to get as many different perspectives as possible to enable you to understand the ‘full-story’. This will ensure that you have an appropriate understanding of the situation and the person who is carrying out the bullying.
- Involve your child. Someone who is experiencing bullying may feel weak, vulnerable and as though they have little control. And so, involving your child in every step is very important. Ensure that your child is comfortable with your actions and the next steps, as opposed to just telling them what is going to happen next.
- Take appropriate action. You may wish to involve the school by reporting the bullying, or help your child to block accounts or people who are bullying them. However, make sure you keep any evidence of the bullying. Again, it is important that your child is happy with whatever action that will be taken to deal with the bullying – so simply banning your child from social media, or deleting their accounts, can have negative implications and can contribute to their feelings of being powerless or marginalised.
- Build resilience. Building resilience can vary depending on each individual. Strategies may include focusing on positive emotion and self-recognition, looking into mindfulness (particularly before bedtime), providing social support, and teaching problem solving strategies.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with being bullied and this is contributing to thoughts of suicide, then you can contact HOPELINE247 for advice and support on 0800 068 4141, via text on 07860 039967 and via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
There are many organisations which offer support for those who are being bullied.
Places to turn for help
- Family lives – offers a confidential and free* helpline service for families in England and Wales (previously known as Parentline) – 0808 800 2222
- Kidscape – Offers advice for parents, young people and professionals regarding those effected by bullying – email@example.com, 020 7730 3300
- The Mix – Free information and support for under 25s in the UK – 0808 808 4994
- YoungMinds – Improving mental health and wellbeing of children and young people. Lots of advice for parents and professionals – 0808 802 554
- ActAgainstBullying – Confidential advice for children who are being bullied – firstname.lastname@example.org
- ChildLine – Confidential and free listening and counselling service for children who are being bullied – 0800 1111
- ACAS – Provide information, advice, training, conciliation regarding any issues at work including bullying – 0300 123 1100
- Gov UK – Advice and information for young people and parents – https://www.gov.uk/workplace-bullying-and-harassment
- Kooth – Online counselling service for people ages 11-25 – kooth.com
- Bully Busters – Offers help and confidential advice via their helpline to parents and victims of bullying. They are a listening service and provide practical advice, as well as act as a mediator – 0800 169 6928 www.bullybusters.org.uk