How to help children who are being bullied?
· Listen: listening to their traumatic experiences help release their fear and pain. And check in with them regularly to follow up the situation. But remember to give them enough time because many young people tend to struggle initially to tell parents about their feelings. So, make sure that they are ready to open up to you.
· Support: it is important to show your unconditional love to comfort their broken heart and go through the difficult time. There are lots of things to do – talk with them, spend time with them doing things they enjoy, and give more positive attention to help rebuild their self-esteem. These help reassure them that they are not alone and it is not their fault to be bullied.
· Stay away: If your child is at risk to be bullied, there is no shame for them to take themselves away and seek a place of safety to seek help. If they are experiencing cyberbullying, just ignore those attacks and block the bullies. Many cyberbullies want to get upset and angry reactions from the victims. So, do not respond.
· Seek help: If you need extra support, do not hesitate to find third-party assistance from the professionals. You can get useful advice and consultation from related organisations and trained counsellors.
· Report: Reporting is a key action to deal with bullying. This does not only protect your child, but also helps prevent other potential victims from the harm. Collect as much as evidence and keep reporting to teachers, the school committee, the social media sites, and even the police until the situation stops. An in the UK, online trolling has already become a criminal offence.
How to help children who are bullying others?
· Understand: Instead of immediate punishment, it is more essential to dig deep into the reasons behind, for example, getting group identity, natural impulsiveness or seeking attention. Finding out the root would be the first step to rectify their behaviours.
· Educate: Young people may have some wrong values and we should help make them right, for example, no one has the right to hurt others, to recognise and respect people’s differences, to take the perspective of the victims, and to apologise to the victims.
· Care: Do not take them as bad kids but guide them through appropriate behaviours with encouragement and support. Of course, seek professional help for them if necessary.
**If your child is experiencing bullying or just wants someone to talk to, they can contact Childline, Samaritans, or of course, our safeguarding lead, Dr Li Foster.