Young people, in the kind of nine-to-fourteen
year age group, experience a whole range of different kinds of bullying. At the moment,
the most common one is cyber bullying that we’re all aware of, that we hear about it
in the media, but cyber bullying is invariably a result of what’s happening offline. In that
way, we mean what’s happening in schools and what’s happening on the way to and from school. My daughter was being bullied and we didn’t know about it because it was being done on
the internet, on MSN. It’s horrible. I felt really upset inside
at the things she was calling me. I just felt really sad. My friend when she walks down the street, people shout names at her because of the way
she looks, which I think is a bit rude because they don’t know her as a person, so they don’t
know what she’s like. We have sexual bullying, we have faith-based
bullying, we have racist bullying, we have bullying that’s based on somebody’s appearance.
Bullying is about difference. It’s about power and difference and it’s about how one young
person tries to exert power and control over another young person. Some people don’t realise how badly bullying hurts even if it’s like the smallest comment,
like your fat or ugly or something. It can hurt sometimes so bad and the bullies don’t
actually realise what they’re doing until it all blows up. In the older age group, parents should really look out for, often, much more physical signs
of bullying. With boys particularly, you might find that bags get nicked, or things go missing.
You might come home with torn clothing. With girls, it tends to be more emotional, so with
young girls, you need to look out for them being particularly distressed about going
to school. If they really show signs of not wanting to go to school, or if they fake illness
a lot of the time – mum. I’ve got a stomach ache and I really don’t feel very well – if
that’s happening on a regular basis, it should be a clear sign to you, as a parent, that
your child is very unhappy at school and that might be because they’re being bullied. It’s very important for parents to try and talk to their child and understand what’s
actually happening for them. Lots of kids are scared of the repercussions of telling.
They think that it’s grassing, they think that they’re going to get into more trouble
if they tell, so there’s a lot of shame and difficulty attached to actually telling your
parents that something is going on for you. When your child actually says to you that
they are being bullied, the most important thing for you to do, as a parent, is to try
and keep calm and not get upset. You need to keep your own feelings in check really
because this is about your child and not about how you feel about them being bullied. They need to report it. They also need to keep a diary of what’s happening to them.
They need to also make a safety plan so that they can keep themselves as safe as they possibly
can. You should tell your children not to fight
back, to stand up for themselves certainly, but not to fight back. That just makes the
bullying worse. There are things that can help. You can attend
drama classes after school, at the weekend, to actually get them to develop that confidence
and boost that self-esteem and believe that you are important and that you deserve not
to be bullied. Like if someone’s picking on me then I’ll
tell the teacher or something. I think to stop it, I think you need to talk
to someone about it and someone who will listen and hopefully do something about it. Cause
if you leave it, like if you keep it on your own, it just gets worse. The most important thing to remember is that these things can be resolved. Roughly about
eighty percent of cases where parents actually take it up with the school, it does get resolved.