As an individual who has been bullied this is an emotional subject and it made me think about how I develop a strategy to support the bullied person but to also challenge the bully and help them change. This is a short post that really outlines steps we can take to support young people who are bullied and also those who are bullying. The NSPCC has a very good post that goes into more detail. I am righting from two perspectives, one to help the person being bullied but also challenging the bully. Bullying has to be stopped and it will be when we help both the bully and the bullied.
Helping your child if they are being bullied
- Talk and listen – listening is actually difficult especially with an emotive subject like this. Create space for this to happen and it might help if you help your child to take time out. Go someone together. Creating a space to talk is important. In this time ask your child what they need. Reassure them.
- Point them to help – it might not be you. As a parent and youth worker I feel your pain on this one but it is important to realise you might not be the best person to help.
- Report bullying to police, school and whoever needs to know. Record as much as you can. This will help in any interviews you have. Don’t allow folks to put you off. “We don’t have bullying in our school.”
- Don’t panic.
- Encourage your child to partner up with someone who can be a safety person. Don’t encourage them to hit back, verbally or physically, get them to walk away.
There are many reasons for bullying but here are some that might help you through the process. There is no justification for bullying but understanding the reasons will help you when seeking to help the bully.
Reasons for bullying
- Emotional trauma
- They have been bullied
- Learned behaviour
- Poor social skills
- Lack empathy
- No discipline enforced
- Trying to fit in
Helping a bully change
If you are a youth worker or parent of a child who is bullying I hope these tips will help.
- Remain calm
- Make them aware of their impact – hold them accountable
- Be their mirror
- Are they open to feedback
- Address the issue head-on
- Ask for changes – changes are possible
- Open up a safe conversation
- Acknowledge their behaviour is unacceptable
- Help them acknowledge their behaviour
- Don’t reward bullying behaviour
- Don’t bully back
- Encourage good behaviour