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Advice on bullying at school

BullyingEverybody knows that bullying at school is a terrible thing. But how can you tell when a child is being bullied?

“By its nature, bullying is deliberately hurtful, takes place over long periods of time and is something that people often find difficult to defend themselves against,” says John Noaks, the council’s senior educational psychologist.

“Bullying happens in different ways. It can be physical, with people being hit, kicked or having their belongings taken away, or it can be verbal with name-calling, unpleasant remarks or insults.

“It can also be indirect – for example, through spreading nasty stories, leaving people out of activities or by sending malicious emails or text messages. When bullying takes place in a school, it is usually out of sight of school staff during break times or when pupils move between classes.”

Signs of bullying

“Children do not normally come right out and say they are being bullied,” says John. “Ask children about bullying if they:

  • don’t want to get on the school bus
  • are unwilling to go to school or complain about feeling ill in the mornings
  • start to play truant
  • come home with damaged clothes or possessions
  • become withdrawn and lose confidence
  • become aggressive and unreasonable
  • refuse to say what’s wrong
  • bully their brothers and sisters or other children
  • cry in bed at night or have nightmares
  • attempt or threaten to harm themselves

What you can do

“If you think that a child is being bullied, you should always contact their school,” says John. “Schools have a number of methods to deal with the problem such as anti-bullying initiatives, incident records, confidential bullying surveys, peer counselling and learning about bullying and its effects in lessons. Bridgend County Borough also has the ‘Playground Peacemaker’ scheme that has helped reduce bullying in infant and primary schools.” You can also try the following:

  • assure the child that the bullying is not their fault
  • tell them that you love them and support them 100%
  • try to boost their confidence by getting them to join clubs
  • strengthen their friendships wherever possible
  • advise your child to stay with groups of children
  • encourage them to put on a confident front even when they don’t feel that way inside
  • ignore the bullying by pretending not to be upset – just turn and walk away
  • practice walking tall - our body language reflects how we feel about ourselves
  • encourage your child to be assertive by saying ‘no!’ or ‘leave me alone’ in a loud voice

For more information about bullying, call the council’s education welfare service on (01656) 722511

Last Updated: 04/11/2013
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