What should my son/daughter do if s/he is being bullied?

See the children and young people pages - what can i do if i'm being bullied 

What signs should I look out for which could indicate that my child is being bullied?

Any of these may be signs, although they could also be due to other causes. He / she:-

  • Is frightened of walking to or from school or changes route
  • Doesn’t want to go on the school / public bus
  • Begs to be driven to school
  • Changes their usual routine
  • Is unwilling to go to school (school phobic)
  • Begins to truant
  • Becomes withdrawn, anxious or lacking in confidence
  • Becomes aggressive, abusive, disruptive or unreasonable
  • Starts stammering
  • Threatens or attempts suicide
  • Threatens or attempts self harm
  • Threatens or attempts to run away
  • Cries themselves to sleep at night or has nightmares
  • Feels ill in the morning
  • Performance in school work begins to drop
  • Comes home with clothes torn, property damaged or ‘missing’
  • Asks for money or starts stealing money
  • Has dinner or other monies continually ‘lost’
  • Has unexplained cuts or bruises
  • Comes home ‘starving’
  • Bullying others
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Is frightened to say what is wrong
  • Afraid to use the internet or mobile phone
  • Nervous or jumpy when a cyber message is received
  • Gives improbable excuses for their behaviour. 

What should I do if I suspect my child is being bullied and they won’t tell me?

Try to raise the issue sensitively with your child, for example: 

“I  notice you haven’t been eating properly/sleeping properly/you’ve been a bit withdrawn recently. Is there something on your mind?”

If you’re really concerned contact the school and speak to your child’s form teacher or Head of Year and ask them if they have noticed anything different.  Ask them if they talk about bullying in Circle Time or in PSHE lessons. There are further sources of information for parents on our web pages.  

How do I make my child resilient/rebuild my child’s self-esteem ?

We run Kidscape (ZAP) Assertiveness Training courses for young people who have been the targets of bullying. Some schools and clubs have Anti-Bullying Teams, Support Groups or Buddy Systems which can also help. Encourage  your child  to get involved in positive activities with other children and young people . Lots of positive feedback about all the things they do well will also help . There is a useful section on the Childline website on building confidence and self esteem

What can i do about my child self-harming?

Self-harm is when people set out to hurt themselves or damage their health deliberately. Sometimes this is done in secret. Below are some useful links with information for children and young people, parents/carers and professionals on why, how and who self-harms, how to tell somebody and getting help. 

Young Minds - self harming information

Childline - self harming information

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