Ofsted’s recent article on the importance of the Early Years (2023) highlights that finding the right setting for your child is critical. The Roche School ... Read Feature
Recently, my best pal phoned me, sounding incredibly distressed. She told me her son is being bullied and she is has run out of ideas of what to do. She didn’t just call me because empowering children to overcome bullying is part of my job! Her son is also my godson.
She was upset and worried. We had a long catch up, I made some suggestions, and she recently told me, he is doing much better and is much happier.
I thought I would share some of the ideas we talked about and some of the brave things she did.
The first thing to be aware of if you have concerns around bullying, is to look out for signs of it happening as our children often feel afraid to speak out about it. It’s crucial to keep an eye out for signs that your child might be facing this torment. Watch for sudden changes in behaviour, like avoiding school or social activities, unexplained injuries, or a decline in academic performance. These red flags are our cue to step in and take action. My friend knew about her son being bullied as she noticed subtle changes in his attitude towards school.
If you are worried about bullying, the next step is to speak to your child about it. My friend knew direct questioning would make her son clam up and withdraw. Instead, she waited for their dog walking time and gently touched on the subject of school. She was able to start an open and honest conversation about bullying. It was important that in this moment, she let her son know that she was there for him, ready to support him in any way he needed.
When our children open up to us about a problem, however small, it is important we validate their emotions and make them feel heard, without judgement. Sharing how he felt, was a giant step and made him feel more empowered for school the next day. Sometimes arming yourself with the strength of loved ones, helps to carry you through difficult times.
Establishing the facts and reassuring your child that bullying is not their fault, is a crucial next step. Although is felt a bit clinical to my friend at the time, I encouraged her to start documenting every single bullying incident that her son told her about. Writing down dates, times, locations, and a detailed description of what happened enabled her to have the evidence she needed to approach the school for support and solutions.
This turned out to be her best tool. As my godson became more and more withdrawn, it was essential to involve the school. While emotions can run high at times, try to refrain from showing up at the school unannounced and when you might be feeling angry or upset. Every school is legally obliged to have an anti bullying policy in place, and they will be happy to meet with you. Book an appointment at a time that won’t interrupt your child’s day and when you can arrive at school calm and armed with your documented evidence.
In this instance, the school knew the background of the “bully” and in discovering the upset he was causing another child, they were able to quickly implement intervention sessions for both children. Separately, the “bully” and my godson had sessions with the school mentor, to strengthen their self-esteem, confidence, and emotional intelligence. Both boys started feeling happy and more content and the bullying decreased and finally stopped.
Sadly, working through these sensitive issues with my friend, came as no surprise to me. Every day at Role Models, I speak to parents concerned about their children’s self-confidence and levels of resilience. We know that building resilience is key to managing emotions and coping during instances of bullying. There are lots of ways you can increase your child’s self-esteem. Encourage them to engage in activities that boost their resilience, like joining clubs, sports teams, or community groups. These experiences will help them build new friendships and boost their self-confidence.
I also recognised the level of empathy and kindness in the work my godson was receiving at his school. Teaching your child, the power of empathy and kindness, helps them to understand that everyone deserves respect, no matter their differences. Encourage them to stand up against bullying and be a supportive friend to others. By nurturing these values, we’re creating a world where compassion triumphs over cruelty.
Whether you’re reading this as the parent (or godmother!) of a child who is being bullied, or the parent of a child who you suspect might be doing the bullying, the same principles apply. Our children need to have the self-confidence to believe in themselves, to know they are good enough just as they are, and to treat people respectfully. This comes from building a strong sense of self. Creating opportunities for your children to feel accomplished and feel a sense of achievement can help to do this.
At Role Models, all our in person holiday courses embed these skills and what’s more, they teach children how to voice their feelings, stand up for themselves, support one another and find their true voice. All skills which are vital in managing relationships and negotiating tricky friendships whilst at school.
With over 41% of GCSE grades scoring the top grades 7-9 (A-A*) and with a 100% pass rate, ESS is delighted to announce a stellar set of ... Read Feature