Word on Health

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Word On Bullying

Our thanks to NSPCC/ChildLine for their contribution to our ‘on-air’ report which you can hear again via the audio player located further down this page.

We don't pretend to be experts on bullying, however, there are a number of organisations that offer authoritative help, advice and support. At the bottom of this page you'll find a number of hyperlinks to take you to their websites.

Bullying- the scale Of The problem:  Evidenceshows that up to 30 per cent of children  can fear going to school because of bullying.  Bullying is one of the common problems that Childline counsellors help young people with and an issue that NSPCC and Childline have been working hard to address with schools, parents and children.

Bullying takes many forms from 'being sent to Coventry' to physical abuse. The impact of bullying is never subtle and it always hurts the victim. All children are at risk at sometime or another in their lives and it not only impacts on the child who is being bullied it affects the friends and family who witness the impact or the actual abuse itself. It makes children's life miserable and is unacceptable behaviour.

Recognising & dealing with ullying  It can be hard for a parent or teacher to recognise the symptoms that a child is being bullied. It can also be terribly difficult for a child to admit to being bullied.

At the start of the school year its a very busy time and teachers with a new class or pupils first need to recognise the normal behaviour patterns of their pupils before being able to identify a change in the pattern that could be an indicator that something is wrong.

For Parents expert opinion recommends that you look for a change in their behaviour over a period of time not just one 'off day'. Are they persistently withdrawn, quiet, tearful and not their normal self? They could be avoiding talking about being bullied for fear that you will disapprove or make matters worse.

Cool calm and considered communication is key, try and talk to them to see if they will tell you what is playing on their mind and try to offer reassurance and support where you can. It's important that you agree with your child a plan of action to tackle the problem so that the matter is not being taken out of their hands.

For Children it's important that you confide in someone either a friend, parent, relative or teacher what's being going on so you can share the burden. If you feel you can't turn to anyone, the counsellors at Childline can help you, everything you tell them is confidential, so give them a call on 0800 11 11

Tips on reducing the likelihood of bullying:  All the experts we spoke to said that a happy, confident child who has good self-esteem is less likely to be bullied. Focus on the positives and fill their thoughts with what is good about them.  For example If your child is good at music make a big thing about that it's wonderful and you will be encouraging a life long interest. Consider their physical attributes, nobody is perfect but if they have nice hair compliment them so if someone teases them about their nose they can think yeah but my hair is great. Be careful to praise the things that you know are good about your child, false praise is a big mistake because then they have misconceptions and leaves them open for bullying.  Be sure that they never bully teach them to respect other people. If you behave in that way you are a lot less likely to be a target.

Links to organisations offering further information, help & support

For Childline call 0800 11 11 or visit www.childline.org.uk

The award-winning charity, Bullying Online, was founded in 1999 by journalist Liz Carnell from Harrogate and her son John, as a direct result of their experience of dealing with school bullying.  www.bullyonline.org

Kidscape, is a charity dedicated to preventing bullying and child abuse.www.kidscape.org.uk

The Westminster Government's Department For Education & Skills have a range of further information on all aspects of bullying click here to access their website  


Listen to this weeks radio report

All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being.