Is your child being bullied? Or would you like to make sure your child isn’t bullied? I want to shine a light on the amazing work of my friend Gemma Hills in supporting families through bullying.
This guest post is written by the lovely Gemma Hills AKA The Anti-Bullying Mum. After her own daughter was bullied, she has become passionate about helping other families through this heartbreaking situation.
How To Get The School To Help
Why aren’t the school doing more?
What is the biggest complaint I hear from parents?
The school haven’t stopped the bullying.
It’s always an interesting one because some schools actually don’t do enough while others are doing everything within their power.
Sometimes we are so caught up in our fear and anxiety over what has happened that we aren’t seeing the situation as clearly as we could.
Is your child’s school doing everything they can and are you being realistic with what you’re expecting?
We want action when our kids are being bullied. We want the child who’s bullying to be taught a lesson, we want our child protected and we want the teacher to keep the closest eye on the situation so s/he notices any little thing that happens.
But, are we being realistic?
Knowing what you can expect from a school is crucial.
You can expect a school to:
•Have an anti-bullying policy and follow it. (Also known as a behaviour policy).
•Increase supervision if bullying is occurring at low supervision times ie in the hallways or at playtime.
•Have an adult your child is comfortable talking to on hand to help them.
•Log all incidents of bullying.
•Monitor and limit the contact between your child and the bully.
However, it takes three members to make bullying stop. The school, the parents and the child. (So often I’m asked why I let the bully and their family off scot-free.
My answer is always “you can’t change others you can only change how you respond to them”.
You can waste as much energy as you like mulling over what the family of the bully should or shouldn’t be doing but ultimately all it will do is leave you feeling frustrated and exhausted.
Instead focus your energy on what you can do. The school can do all they can but without you and your child taking action as well it’s likely the bullying will continue. It’s not realistic to expect a teacher to notice every interaction between his or her class. Your child needs to know how to report incidences in a way that they are comfortable with so the teacher can take action.
To make sure you’re doing everything you can, look at integrating confidence building into your everyday lives, have coping strategies in place (does your child know who they can go to for help? Or how to manage their anxiety? Have you helped them plan how they feel most comfortable dealing with the bully, seeking help, keeping themselves safe?)
4 Ways for Your Child to protect Themselves:
1. Know who to go to when they need help.
2. Don’t leave themselves vulnerable by playing alone or out of sight of the teacher.
3. Understand they do not need to be friends with everyone – I so often hear of kids trying to please the bully and be their friend in hope of making it stop. If this is the case for your child it may be a sign they need help working on their self-esteem.
4. Ask themselves if what’s being said is true. The most considerable damage is on the inside where it can’t be seen. The most effective way for your child to protect themselves from the impact of words is to stop and question everything that is being said to them.
Every school has a duty of care to their pupils. They are required to keep them safe. If they aren’t doing that and if you’ve already implemented all of the above then you have every right to complain. Schools are organisations and as with every organisation there is a complaints procedure.
Don’t shy away from speaking out. Your child is following your example. You want them to see you speaking up for what’s right, being assertive not aggressive. Following the complaints procedure and not being intimidated by others. Asking for help and confidently persevering until you get it. Show your child what it looks like to stand up for yourself and ask for help.
Your first port of call must always be the class teacher. If you try to jump to the next person in line you’ll almost always be sent back to the beginning. It’s like playing a game of snakes and ladders! If you have no joy with the teacher move on to the headteacher. Most cases of bullying are resolved within the school but if not then you can write to the school governors and ask for their intervention. Don’t be fearful of talking with your local police if you’re unsure if they could be involved. Certainly don’t hesitate to ask your GP for support if you feel they could help. Funding is low but it’s still worth asking. The message here is try not to be fearful.
Step up, speak out and get the help you need.
If you’d like to know more click here for The Anti-Bullying Mum website
I hope you have found this helpful and insightful
With Love and Crystal Blessings