Bullying: where to find help
Sadly, more than half of UK children will experience bullying – either as victim, perpetrator or witness. Most bullying is quickly dealt with and most children bounce back from it. But for some children being bullied can have long term damaging consequences. And in this age of digital connectedness, there are fewer safe spaces: cyberbullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Finding out that your child is being bullied can provoke some very strong emotions in parents. But an emotional reaction is seldom helpful – either in supporting your child or in resolving the situation. Bullying is an issue that is always best dealt with calmly and in a considered way.
So, if you are unlucky enough to find yourself dealing with bullying, before you jump in with solutions take a step back, be sure to listen empathetically and have a look at these expert websites for sound advice on the best ways forward.
Advice for parents/carers
Bullying UK offers comprehensive online advice for parents/carers on all aspects of bullying. There is advice on identifying bullying, supporting children, working with schools to tackle it and really useful template letters to schools if the issue isn’t sorted. There is also a telephone helpline for parents to talk through issues in confidence. (www.bullying.co.uk 0808 800 2222)
Dealing with schools
The Advisory Centre for Education (now ACE Education Advice) gives expert advice via their telephone helpline on working with schools to tackle bullying. (www.ace-ed.org.uk 0300 0115 142)
Kidscape offers good advice on cyberbullying, including how to block users, adjust privacy settings and report abuse and bullying on social media and also on email accounts. (www.kidscape.org.uk)
Support for children and young people
Childline provides confidential telephone counselling directly to children and teenagers on all types of issues, including bullying. There is child-friendly practical advice about coping with bullying on their website, plus message boards and email support. (www.childline.org.uk 0800 1111)
Young Minds offers advice (to children, young people and their parents) on emotional and mental health problems such as low self-esteem and self-harming that can be caused by bullying. (www.youngminds.org.uk)
For professionals working with children
The Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) brings together the latest research, resources and campaigns from all the charities and organisations working to combat bullying. (www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk)
For general advice on parenting older children and teenagers, check out these parenting websites for teenagers and tweens. Or, if bullying has impacted negatively on your child, then you might also find it helpful to read this post on building children’s self-esteem.