Bullying is the term used when a child or group of children keep taking advantage of the power they have, to hurt or reject someone else.
Some of the ways children bully another child, include: calling them names, saying, or writing nasty comments about them, leaving them out of activities, not talking to them, threatening them, making them feel uncomfortable or scared, stealing or damaging their things, hitting or kicking them, or making them do things they don't want to do.
An increasing form of bullying, known as cyber-bullying, can include emails, texts, phone calls and social media websites and can persist 24 hours a day. See pdf below for further information.
Why is bullying harmful?
Some people think bullying is just part of growing up and a way for children to learn to stick up for themselves. But bullying has serious consequences - it can make children feel lonely, unhappy, frightened, unsafe and think that there must be something wrong with them.
Signs that might indicate your child is being bullied include tummy aches, nightmares, reluctance to go to school and loss of confidence. They may lose contact with friends and seem isolated.
Why do some children bully?
There are a lot of reasons why children bully. They may see it as a way of being popular, showing off, or making themselves look tough. Some children bully to get attention, and some just like making other people feel afraid of them. They may not even realise that what they are doing is wrong and how it makes their victims feel.
Why are some children bullied?
Some children and young people are bullied for no particular reason, but usually it's because they are different in some way - perhaps it's the colour of their skin, the way they talk, their sexuality, their size or their name. Sometimes, young people are bullied because they look like they won't stand up for themselves.
What can I do if my child is being bullied?
If your child is being bullied, listen to what they are saying and be supportive. It is important to make it clear it isn't their fault. Ask your child how they have been dealing with the bullying, talk about what else can be done and what action you can both take, to solve the problem.
You could help your child develop a plan to deal with bullying, including how to get help. Encourage your child to always tell an adult they can trust. Explain to them this isn't telling tales. They have a right to be safe. If your child is different in some way, help them to be proud of it. A confident child is less likely to be bullied and will also be better able to deal, with any bullying which occurs.
What can I do if my child bullies others?
If you discover that your child is bullying other children, stay calm. Try to find out how and why they have been behaving in this way. Explain to your child that bullying is wrong and try to get your child to understand what it's like for their victim. Tell your children that they should never join in when someone else is being bullied and that they should always try to help another child being bullied; for example, by reporting it. Tell them that by doing nothing to stop bullying, means that they're saying it's okay.