East Riding of Yorkshire Council is offering advice and support to parents who may feel their child is affected by bullying, as part of Anti-bullying Week from 12-16 November.
Bullying can have a negative impact on a young person’s work, health, self esteem and confidence. It can take many forms including physical, emotional and even text and internet bullying. Often parents and family members are the first to spot signs that their child is being bullied.
Bullying is usually defined as repeated behaviour which is intended to hurt someone either emotionally or physically, and is often aimed at certain people because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation or any other aspect such as appearance or disability.
What should parents look out for?
The type of behaviour that might be an indication of bullying includes:
- A reluctance to go to school
- Unexplained tummy upsets or headaches
- Showing signs of distress on a Sunday night or at the end of school holidays
- Becoming either quiet or withdrawn, or playing up
- Torn clothes and missing belongings
- Seeming upset after using their phone, tablets, computers etc.
- Wanting to leave for school much earlier than necessary or returning home late.
Bullying can have an impact on a child’s mental health so if your child is showing signs of serious distress – such as depression, anxiety and self harm always see a GP.
What can parents do to help?
Listen, be calm and provide reassurance that the situation can get better when action is taken.
- Listen and reassure your child that coming to you was the right thing to do
- Assure them that the bullying is not their fault and that they have family that will support them
- Don’t encourage retaliation to bullying – such as violent actions. Rather suggest they walk away and seek help
- Find out what your child wants to happen next. Help to identify the choices available to them
- Encourage your child to get involved in activities that build their confidence and esteem
- Discuss the situation with your child’s teacher or head teacher – or the lead adult wherever the bullying is taking place.
Bear in mind many children do not tell their parents because they are frightened that they will approach the school about the matter, make a fuss and make things worse, so it is a good idea to ask your child what they think could be done to stop the bullying.
Every child has the right to a safe environment in which to learn and play.
Lindsay Shelbourn, public health lead for mental health and suicide prevention, said: “Bullying can have devastating effects which can last into adulthood. Children who are bullied are at greater risk of developing mental health problems and in some cases it can lead to self-harm.
“As a parent or carer you may have concerns your child is being bullied. The most important thing you can do is to listen and provide reassurance. Take a look at the Anti-Bullying Alliance interactive anti-bullying tool for information on bullying.”
Bullying can happen anywhere; at school, travelling to and from school, in sporting teams, between neighbours or in the workplace. It’s not acceptable and if you feel affected by bullying you can visit www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk
For general information visit www.eastriding.gov.uk
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