The NSPCC’s Helen Marriner, Schools Service Coordinator for Essex, discusses Anti-Bullying Week

From November 11 – 15 the UK focuses on Anti-Bullying Week. To support this the NSPCC and Childline has launched the #IGotYou campaign.

Parents, carers and teachers are not the only people responsible for stopping bullying, friends can help too. #IGotYou focuses on the friends of those being bullied and what they can do to help and has been launched via two videos available on YouTube.

As we’re all aware, sometimes just a simple act of kindness can change a life for the better, especially that of a young child who is potentially unaware of what is happening around them.

You can view both videos simply by logging onto YouTube and searching for #IGotYou NSPCC.

Of course, as parents, we all hope we’d be able to spot the signs of bullying but often the changing nature of moods and friendships that can be a normal part of young people’s lives can make this challenging. But possible signs include:

  • Difficulty controlling emotions
  • Struggling to make and maintain friendships
  • Self-consciousness
  • Inability to act in an age-appropriate way
  • Bullying others
  • Problems with sleeping and eating
  • Asking for, or stealing, money (to give to whoever is bullying them)
  • Not doing well at school

Belongings may also disappear or become ‘lost’, the child may have unusual bruises or injuries that they struggle to explain, they may also be losing sleep or struggling to get out of bed.

It’s also common for the child to avoid school and it’s likely they will also show signs of anxiousness and distress.

If your child is bullying another it can be a very distressing time and it is important they’re told it’s unacceptable. It’s possible that they may not realise their behaviour is considered bullying and so it’s really important to talk them about this and help them understand how their actions may be received by others.

Having regular and open conversations with your child will help to ensure that any issues are picked up on at the earliest possible stage so action can be taken when needed.

If your child is struggling to talk you can always direct them to Childline online, it’s free and easy to sign up. There they can use the Childline Toolbox, where they can write in their own customisable mood journal, talk to children struggling with the similar problems, play games and get one to one counselling.

Our Speak Out Stay Safe service regularly visits schools to discuss topics such as bullying, abuse and neglect to help children understand that they’re never alone. In the last school year in Essex we reached 52,251 school children with this campaign.

It can become an emotional rollercoaster when you discover you child is being bullied, however it’s important to try and remain calm in these situations as your mood may affect their ability to open up and talk again. The most important thing is that the child understands it’s never their fault.

It’s a relief for all when bullying comes to an end, however the effects can be long term. The NSPCC has created a video available on YouTube called Life After Bullying to help those coping with the aftermath who need reassurance.

The NSPCC website also offers loads of advice on bullying for parents, while Net Aware gives useful tips on dealing with online abuse. You can also call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.

Childline is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 0800 1111.

Mick Ferris

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