Bullying Help

by AJ

Bullying help for parents of children who are being bullied at school.

Bullying Help from a Mum whose daughter was bullied

What I learned when my daughter was bullied

My daughter is beautiful. She is funny. She is articulate. She is intelligent. She is great at drama (both on and off stage, ha ha). She is on the gifted and talented register for some subjects at school. She is above average height. She has gorgeous blue eyes. She has good skin. She is slim. She is funny and witty. She is nice. She is natural. She would rather wear an England Soccer Shirt than a pretty dress. She is unassuming and has no idea how lovely she is. Boys like her but she is too interested in horses to notice.

Because of all of this she is a target for Bullying.

Our daughter went through three years of hell at Elementary School as we struggled and fought to make the school take it seriously and take action to get it stopped. And every so often new incidents flare up. These days she copes and deals with it herself, but recently once again I had to get involved to help her.

It did not take long to stop it, because of everything I learned when the bullying happened before.

Stars Make a Stand Against Bullying

1 in 5 Children who are bullied admit they have considered suicide

But what is the definition of Bullying?

Remember - every child has a right to NOT be bullied

In a nutshell Bullying can be defined as:

"Any behavior or action that knowingly causes distress".

In theory once someone is specifically told that their actions or behavior are upsetting someone, then if they choose to continue, it is bullying.

In the case of a child, it is NOT a question of telling them to toughen up, or not be so sensitive, or to get a sense of humor.

Why make the victim feel that they are in the wrong?

Bullying can take several forms.

1. Physical

Often the easiest to spot and stop, physical bullying will involve hitting, kicking, pushing, tripping, pinching, stealing possessions and even spitting at someone

2. Verbal

Telling lies to get someone into trouble,  name-calling, swearing at someone, making rude remarks, threatening, sarcasm, persistent teasing

3. Psychological or Emotional Bullying

Spreading false rumors, exclusion from social groups, taking friends away, humiliation

In my experience it is the Psychological Bullying that is often the hardest to prove and the most difficult to stop.

Bullying Signs

Signs to look for if you think your child is being bullied

What to do if your child is being bullied

Don't hesitate, take action

In my experience, once bullying starts, unless the Bully is able to deal with it and stop it, then it will continue. The more The Bully gets away with, the more they will do.

Not many kids will be able to deal with a Bully, particularly the younger they are and especially if nothing like it has ever happened to them before. My daughter was aged seven when it first happened to her and to make it worse it was two people with whom she had previously been friends.

Most bullying situations are also made worse by the fact that the Bullied child's friends are standing by and letting it happen. These are known as The Bystanders.

The first thing you must steel yourself against is the anxious pleas of your tearful child who will beg you NOT to go into school and complain. They will be frightened they won't be believed and they will be terrified it will make the bullying worse.

Sadly, they may be right on both counts. It took us a long lengthy battle not to convince the school that our daughter was telling the truth, but to get them to treat the matter seriously enough. So the Bully was getting away with it and at times the bullying got worse.

However, it would have carried on if we had done nothing.

And of course, even if the school try to do something about it, then if the Bully's parents refuse to accept what they are told, then the whole situation becomes even more difficult to manage.


How to complain to the school if your child is being bullied

12 steps you can take

Follow these steps to complain to the school and whatever you do, do NOT worry that you are making a fuss. Your child needs YOU to stand up for them.

1. Right from Day 1 put all complaints in writing, Clearly date the letter, so you have proof about when the bullying first started

2. Do not assume that your child's ever so lovely Class Teacher is the best person to deal with it. S/he may be lovely, but if they cannot stand up to the Bully's parents (sometimes Bullies themselves as Bullying can run in families) or if s/he is the type to hope the problem will just go away, then you have a real problem

3. Keep a diary. Log incidents, dates, times, reports made, action taken (or not). You may need this in the future

4. If the incidents continue, ask to see your child's school record. Check that all your letters, emails etc are on the record

5. Ask to see the School's Anti Bullying Policy - required by Law in the UK and by some States in the USA. Read it through. Identify what action the school says it will take if a child is bullied. Repeat what the policy says in any letters to the school

6. Research Bullying, so you know which incidents can be defined as bullying

7. Ask the Head Teacher if they actually agree that your child is being bullied - you may be surprised at the response!

8. If your child used to be happy at school, ask the school what they think has changed this

9. Question the strategies the school has for dealing with bullying and what action they take. If your child is still being targetted by bullies, then quite clearly whatever the school is doing just isn't working. You may need to spell this out to them

10. If the bullying is making your child ill, ask your Doctor to write a letter to the school pointing out there's no point in treating the symptoms if the underlying cause is not removed

11. Do not assume that:

the school agrees your child is being bullied

all school staff understand the anti-bullying policy

all school staff have been alerted as to what is going on

all school staff consistently apply the anti bullying policy

all school staff are adequately trained in applying the anti-bullying policy

all bullying incidents are logged

12. DO NOT GIVE UP! If you cannot save your child from all this nastiness, then who can?

Updated: 02/24/2014, AJ
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WebWriter on 06/05/2011

This was on the top 10 list of things I taught my daughter growing up. To never bully anyone. Love everyone.

AJ on 06/05/2011

Deb - yes, you and I both know that despite everything, some schools are just in denial and anyone who has da connections with the UK education system for the length of time that we both have (you as an educational professional and Mum and me as a Mum), knows that it is getting worse.

kyblueyes - thank you for your comments. Yes, things are a lot better for my daughter now and most of the time she is able to deal with incidents that may lead to bullying if not stopped. We are also fortunate that her current school has a zero tolerance policy towards bullying. They cannot stop it starting, but they soon put an end to it.

debnet on 05/29/2011

Any school that tells you they don't have bullies is living in cuckoo land. Nice work AJ.

bev-owens on 05/26/2011

Bullying has become more like an epidemic than most people realize. Hopefully your information will help parents to support their children when situations come up.

lakeerieartists on 05/25/2011

Thankfully, I have not been involved in a situation like this, but it is a serious one, and as always, I learn a lot about bullying from your experience. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

pkmcr on 05/25/2011

The passion with which you write about this subject always shines through AJ and as always this is a great article!

AJ on 05/25/2011

Thank you both. Bullying is one of the scourges of education today and we should all be making a stand against it because it undermines everything we want for our kids.

To give an example, my daughter does not want to apply for a place on a special "off timetable" science activity at school because she is worried she will get called a Geek (not complimentary in the UK) and teased. It's things like this that hold back their development as well as their education.

Try telling a 14 year old that what people say should not matter (particularly if they are people they dont like) - fear of the consequences is such a barrier to assertiveness and all this nastiness makes it so much harder for the kids today.

It definitely has got a lot worse, since I first sent my son to High School in the late 80s!

whitemoss on 05/25/2011

I'm sure your article will help anyone who has experienced bullying. Very helpful and suppoertive suggestions.

chefkeem on 05/25/2011

I admire you for taking such a strong stand on this topic, AJ. May your articles be of utmost help to everyone affected by bullying.

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