Anti-Bullying Pro and Netmums Top Tips!
We’ve teamed up with netmums.com to give parents some top tips when it comes to bullying.
Tip 1: Confidence and self-esteem
1) Sticky labels or post-it-notes
Simple praise can boost a child’s self-esteem and help them to understand their self-worth.
The following exercise demonstrates that just because individuals disrespect them, it doesn’t mean they are worthless and not to let this affect their perception. Instead remember all the positive qualities they possess. Labels can be negative but these are positive...
This exercise will help them with the following:
- Help them to believe that we all have special qualities, but not everyone will value these!
- Increase their self-esteem and their resilience
- Help them believe that we will always be loved and accept them for the amazing people they are.
The aim of this exercise is to cover your child with post-it-notes full of positive labels.
Grab a pen and try and highlight the following labels to stick on your child:
- Things they are good at;
- How they have inspired others in what they do;
- Things that make them special;
- Times they have coped well;
- AchievementsThings teachers, relatives have said.
If you have time repeat the exercise this time thinking about strengths/talents you as a parent have.
We tend to remember the negatives and need to be taught to focus on positives. Knowing we are loved and accepted unconditionally helps us all to cope with criticisms, mistakes and setbacks.
Tip 2: Identifying bullying behaviour
1) Large roll of paper or several pieces that can be stuck together
2) Marker Pen
3) Floor space
Young children and even teens find it particularly hard to grasp what bullying behaviour looks and sounds like. As a parent it’s also useful to be able to spot the warning signs.
This exercise will help you with the following:
- Enable your child to recognise when they are being bullied
- Enable your child to spot when they are a bystander and see others being bullied
- Enable your child to understand when their behaviour could be bullying
- Enable you as a parent to identify the signs of bullying
- Ensure your child understands that it is ok (and vital) to tell someone
- Ensure the young person feels less isolated
This exercise is fun, requires one child but works well with more.
Find a clear floor space. On one sheet of paper label the sheet ‘Bullied’. Draw around your child, so that you are left with the outline of a body. Together try to imagine what a child who is being bullied would look and sound like by writing down as many words, symbols and images. The more creative you can be the better. Repeat the exercise, this time for a bully- thinking about what a bully might look and sound like...
Through labelling the piece of paper, try to answer the following:
- What behaviour would they be displaying? Think verbal, physical, and indirect.
- How would you know they were being bullied or a bully?
- What would you see or hear in terms of their body language?
After the exercise is complete, discuss how as a parent you will look out for these signs. Reinforce the fact that bullying behaviour is not acceptable. Discuss the role that your child can play in looking out for others and spotting bullying in the playground, on the bus or at home.
Tip 3: Support Networks
1) A4 sheet of paper
Every child needs to know that they are supported, not just at home, but at school and through services they indirectly or directly come into contact with.
This exercise will help you with the following:
- Enable you to build a picture of those individuals your child trusts & who surrounds them in their life
- Enable your child to understand who else they can seek support from
- Allow you to consider your own support network
- Help them understand that friendships can change
- Help them to understand that adults need a support network too
Let your child lead, with your support. On a sheet of paper write the heading ‘My Universe’ at the top of the page. In the middle of the page your child should write their name, around their name draw 5 or 6 celestial spheres (circles) surrounding your child’s name. Then ask them to place/label the people that are in their universe (life).
The chances are they will list their favourite people close to them (best friends) and those not so close further out. Once they have completed the exercise remind them of others they could go to if they have had a concern, worry or problem. These could include: Childline, Family centres, Trusted neighbour, Police.... help them to think of all the people that could help keep them safe.
After the exercise you could complete together your own universe as a parent, looking at your support network and thinking about individuals and services that could support you such as Netmums, GP, School, Family centres etc.
Show your child that we all need to share experiences and ask for help. Offer examples of times Grandma etc helped you. Many young people believe they can sort things on their own or that telling an adult will make things worse. This is a myth! It always makes it better if the adult responds calmly and uses the resources available.
Tip 4: Reacting to Bullying
Up to 15 minutes.
Being able to respond to your child positively and effectively when they raise a bullying concern is vital.
Young people often feel that they have to deal with problems alone, that they are admitting weakness when they are desperate to show their independence. They may not want to worry you. They may feel that you will be emotional, angry etc.
Three important points:
- Believe and listen to them
- Praise them for doing the right thing and speaking to you
- Remain calm and focused
- Ask then what they would like you to do.
But what if you think something is affecting your child but they don’t seem keen to speak?
If you are worried about your child, go for a walk with them or a car journey. Sit beside them and chat. Our children will often open up when we approach them indirectly.
- 'How was school today?' - granted this will often result in 'OK' or, if you have a teenager, maybe even a grunt but delve further and remain positive. Ask questions such as 'What was the best part of today? and 'What would have made it even better?'
- ‘What is lunchtime like at your school? Who do you sit with?’
- ‘What’s it like to ride the bus to school?’
- ‘Is anyone ever left out of activities?’
- ‘What do you think needs to happen at school to stop bullying?’
- ‘What should parents do to help stop bullying in schools?’
- ‘What are some good qualities about yourself? (talk about why it’s good to feel good about yourself)
Speak to teachers if you are worried. Monitor your child's mood from a distance. Give them extra cuddles and praise and extra time with you alone. Talk to a grandparent or family friend who has a close relationship with the child. They may talk more freely with someone else. It doesn't matter who they tell, as long as they share their worries with someone who will listen and calmly take control of the situation.
Tips for Online Safety
One of parents' biggest worries is online safety. Here are some top tips to bear in mind!
Netmums are working with us to help parents cope with bullying.