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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Video: dealing with bullying (9 to 14 year olds)

Tips for parents on how to spot the signs that your child is being bullied, and how to deal with the problem.

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Text version

Sarah Dyer, Beatbullying: "Young people in the 9 to 14 year age group experience a whole range of different types of bullying. At the moment the most common one is cyberbullying, that we're all aware of, that we hear about in the media. But cyberbullying is invariably the result of what's happening offline. By this we mean what's happening in school and what’s happening on the way to and from school."

Mother: "My daughter was being bullied and we didn't know about it because it was being done on the internet on MSN."

First girl: "It was horrible. I felt really upset inside at the things she was calling me and I just felt really sad."

Second girl: "My friend, when she walks down the street, people shout names at her because of the way she looks, which I think is a bit rude because they don't know her as a person, so they don't know what she's like."

Sarah Dyer: "We have sexual bullying, we have faith-based bullying, we have racist bullying, we have bullying that's based on somebody's parents. Bullying is about difference - it's about power and difference, and it's about how one young person tries to exert power and control over another young person."

Third girl: "Some people don't realise how badly bullying hurts you. Even if it's the smallest comment - like you're fat or ugly or something - it can hurt someone so bad, and the bullies don't actually realise what they're doing until it all blows up."

What are the signs that my child might be getting bullied?

Sarah Dyer: "In the older age group, parents should really look out for often much more physical signs of bullying. With boys particularly you might find that bags get nicked or things go missing; they might come home with torn clothing. With girls it tends to be more emotional. So with young girls you need to look out for them being particularly distressed about going to school. If they really show signs of not wanting to go to school, or they fake illness a lot of the time - 'Mum, I've got a stomach ache and I really don't feel very well.' If that's happened on a regular basis it should be a clear sign to you as a parent that your child is very unhappy at school and that might be because they're being bullied."

How to help

Sarah Dyer: "It's very important for parents to try and talk to the child and understand what's actually happening for them. Lots of kids are scared of the repercussions of telling, they think that it's grassing, they think that they're going to get in more trouble if they tell. So there's a lot of shame and difficulty attached to actually telling your parents that something's going on for you."

Woman: "When your child actually says to you that they are being bullied, the most important thing for you to do as a parent is to try and keep calm and not get upset. You need to keep your own feelings in check, really, because this is about your child and not how you feel about them being bullied."

It will help if you:

  • report the bullying
  • keep a diary
  • make a safety plan

Woman: "They need to report it. They also need to keep a diary of what’s happening to them. They need to also make a safety plan so they can keep themselves as safe as they possibly can. You should tell your children not to fight back, to stand up for themselves, certainly. But not to fight back - that just makes the bulling worse."

How can my child be more confident?

Claude Knights, Kidscape: "There are things that can help. You can attend drama classes after school, at the weekend, to actually develop that confidence and boost that self-esteem and believe that you are important and that you deserve not to be bullied."

Boy: "If someone's picking on me, they'll tell me to tell the teacher or something."

Fourth girl: "I think to stop it, I think you need to talk to someone about it and someone who would listen and hopefully do something about it, because if you leave it, if you keep it on your own, it just gets worse."

Find out your school's anti-bullying policy

Sarah Dyer: "The most important thing to remember is that these things can be resolved. Roughly about 80 per cent of cases where parents actually take it up with the school do get resolved."

Useful tips:

  • watch out for any signs of bullying
  • listen to your child
  • don't be afraid to talk to the school

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