Information

SIGNS YOUR CHILD MIGHT BE BEING BULLIED

No one should have to put up with bullying. It can make people feel unsafe at school and upset when they get home.

Read the following to help you understand if someone you know is being bullied.

 

Emotional and behavioural signs

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Frequent tears or anger
  • Mood swings
  • Feels ill in the morning
  • Becomes withdrawn or starts stammering
  • Becomes aggressive and unreasonable
  • Refuses to talk about what is wrong
  • Begins to target siblings
  • Continually 'loses' money or starts stealing.

 

Physical signs

  • Has unexplained bruises, cuts, scratches
  • Comes home with missing or damaged belongings or clothes
  • Comes home hungry.

 

School signs

  • Doesn't want to go to school
  • Changes their route to school or are frightened of walking to school
  • Doesn't want to go to school on the bus
  • School grades begin to fall.

 

Other signs

Sometimes bullying can be far more hidden. The signs include:

  • Often alone or excluded from friendship groups at school
  • A frequent target for teasing, mimicking or ridicule at school
  • Unable to speak up in class and appears insecure or frightened.

 

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY CHILD IS BEING BULLIED?

You may have noticed your child is showing some of the signs of being bullied, or you might discover they have been bullied in some other way. In any case, try to get your child to open up about what's happening in their life by showing them that you understand and don't judge them.

Listen

Try to listen to the whole story without interrupting. Be empathetic, calm and show you understand what the child is saying. They might need to tell their story more than once.

Talk

Have a conversation about what happened. Try not to let your very understandable emotions (anger, distress...) show. Your feelings can intensify the child's or make it worse for them and might even deter your child from talking to you another time.

Remind your child it's normal to feel hurt, it's never OK to be bullied.

Tell them the behaviour was intentional, meant to hurt and won't just go away.

Ask your child what they would like to happen. Often all they want is for the bullying to stop. Children may feel that if the perpetrator is punished, it will be worse for them in the long run.

Find out what is happening

Note what, when and where the bullying occurred, who was involved, how often and if anybody else witnessed it. Don't offer to confront the young person or their parents yourself. This might make things worse for your child.

Contact the school

Bullying arises from social situations - family, school, clubs, and work - and if possible, cases of bullying are best dealt with where they occur. It's important you alert school to the situation, in case we are not aware of it.

Don't assume we know about the situation, because your child may not have told us. The majority of children and teenagers do not disclose to teachers or parents.

Here are some tips to guide your discussions with a member of staff at BHS:

  • Make an appointment to speak to your child's Head of Year.
  • Take along your notes about the situation or screen-shots, texts etc. It's often difficult to remember specific details.
  • Find out if we are aware of the bullying.
  • If your child asks to stay home from school, explain it won't help - and may make things worse.

 

Give sensible advice

Encourage your child not to fight back, but coach them to use neutral language in response and help them explore other possible responses.

Other useful advice includes:

  • Tell them that the behaviour was intentional and it won't just go away
  • Explain it's safer to avoid people, places or situations that could expose them to further bullying
  • If your child asks to stay home from school, explain that it won't help - and may make things worse
  • If possible, help to make opportunities for them to join other groups of young people - e.g. clubs at school or other groups outside of school time.

 

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY CHILD IS BEING CYBERBULLIED?

  • Explain it's never a good idea to retaliate
  • Collect the evidence (screenshots, saving texts etc.)
  • Get your child to change their privacy settings
  • Ask your child if they know whether the same thing is happening to others. Encourage them to support their friends and report any abuse to the school.
  • Contact the internet service provider and the site owner so that material can be preserved but removed from public view.
  • If there is any indication your child may be at risk, or if threats have been made, make a report to the police or CEOP’s.
  • Also refer to our Cyberbullying policy

 

Practical tips to help prevent harmful online behaviour

  • Talk about technology with your children. It's OK if they know more than you do.
  • Reach an agreement about what acceptable online behaviour looks and feels like and how they will spend time online (e.g. homework, social networking, and gaming). If you and your children have regular conversations about the online world, they'll be more likely to talk to you if they are harassed or cyberbullied or if something feels uncomfortable.
  • It is appropriate to put filters in place, set security to 'high' and to keep a close eye on what they are doing online. And make sure you set agreements about how much time they can allocate to different activities.
  • Make sure passwords are changed regularly and kept private even from friends, as friends sometimes become enemies and could use their online accounts in offensive or obnoxious ways. As children become older, supervision needs will diminish as they take responsibility for their own online behaviour.
  • Many children don't talk about cyberbullying or other negative experiences because they fear their access to technology will be removed. Reassure them this won't happen. Cyberbullying is serious and not a case of 'it's just words'. Cyber-attacks have a lasting effect and can damage a child in a variety of ways.
  • Like face-to-face bullying, cyberbullying is also usually a relationship problem that starts off out of school hours, often on privately-owned devices. Even though the bullying doesn't take place in school hours it can create serious problems by affecting students' feelings of safety, wellbeing and even their academic progress. It is important the relevant Head of Year is informed.
  • For further advice please visit one of the useful links listed below.

 

WHAT IF I KNOW ABOUT ANOTHER CHILD WHO IS BEING BULLIED?

Talking to your child about bullying might include talking about other children who are being bullied. They may not want to name names. This is OK. Ask the child what, if the situation were reversed, they would want their friend to do for them.

Your role

Please report bullying to your child’s Head of Year or Deputy Head Teacher.

Your child's role

Most bullying situations are witnessed by others. But generally, children don't like witnessing bullying: it makes them feel uncomfortable and can make them see their school as an unsafe place.

Being part of a group watching a bullying incident can encourage the young person who is doing the bullying. Even if the child doesn't feel they can intervene, they should move away from the situation.

Children often feel worried about intervening. They may fear for their safety, think the bullying might turn on them, fear their friendships will suffer, or just not know what words to use.

They should only intervene personally if it is safe to do so and the environment is a supportive one.

Tips to help your child be an effective bystander

Check your child:

  • understands the difference between playful teasing and bullying
  • understands the difference between acting responsibly and telling on someone
  • knows what to say when someone has been bullied.

You can help your child by:

  • reassuring the child that they are not to blame
  • suggesting the child seeks help from an adult
  • offering to go with the child to seek help from an adult.

Discuss with your child ways to safely intervene and support the child who is being bullied. Some strategies could be:

  • if it is safe to do so - take the child away from the person who is bullying them
  • if it is safe to do so - tell the child doing the bullying that their behaviour is bullying and that it's not okay
  • introduce the child who has been bullied to other friends
  • get immediate help from an adult if it is not safe to intervene.

 

If your child believes that another student at school is in danger or is extremely distressed, report this to the relevant Head of Year or Deputy Head Teacher so they can investigate.

Afterwards, they should report what happened to a teacher, Head of Year or Pastoral Administrator.

 

WHAT IF MY CHILD IS BULLYING OTHER CHILDREN?

Here are some things that you can do if your child is bullying other children:

Talk to your child

  • Stay calm. Focus on the behaviour, rather than the child.
  • Make sure your child knows bullying behaviour is inappropriate and why.
  • Try to understand the reasons why your child has behaved in this way and look for ways to address problems.
  • Encourage your child to look at it from the other's perspective, for example, "how would you feel if..."
  • Help your child think of alternative paths of action.
  • Provide appropriate boundaries for their behaviour.
  • Children need to find ways of managing their relationships more positively than dominance, control or exclusion. Teaching conflict resolution and social/emotional skills is important.