Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Anti Bullying Information and Advice

Here is a copy of the QandA session our Director did with thr BABA Blog for Anti Bullying Month.
Q&A: Dr Andy Hickson on Anti-Bullying



Q1) What are the triggers that cause bullying to start?

A) Bullying has many triggers both for the bully and the person getting bullied. In terms of the person getting bullied it often starts when notable differences or weaknesses are perceived. Bullies tend to pick up on these. So if people are lonely, without a friendship group, stand out in any way, depressed or similar, their already low self-esteem and lack of confidence may be compounded by being bullied. It should also be pointed out that anybody has the potential to get bullied and anyone has the potential to be a bully.


Q2) What are the different forms of bulling?

A) The main forms of bullying are physical (hitting, kicking, spitting etc), emotional (name calling, excluding etc), relational (hurting someones reputation, bad rumours etc) and cyber (bullying through the use of technology such as mobile phones and through social networks).


Q3) What are the signs to watch out for, changes in my child’s behaviour, etc?

A) There are many signs to watch out for, but be aware that these very same signs could indicate other things than bullying. Signs include: being frightened of walking to and from school, not wanting to go on the school bus or not wanting you to go on the school bus with them, they may beg you to drive them to school, feeling ill in the mornings or late at night, begin truanting, start doing badly in their school work, have their school clothes or books destroyed, come home hungry (because the bully as taken their dinner money), become withdrawn, start stammering, lack confidence, become depressed and anxious, stop eating, they may attempt or threaten suicide, cry themselves to sleep, have regular nightmares and not want to sleep in their own bed, have their stuff go missing, ask for money or start stealing (to give to the bully), refuse to talk about what's wrong with them, have unexplained bruises, cuts, scratches, start to bully other children, brothers or sisters , become aggressive and unreasonable, and more. Look out for excuses for any of the aforementioned too.


Q4) Does age make a difference and are there different forms of bullying for girls and boys?

A) People can get bullied at any age. Adults get bullied too. All forms of bullying can be done by both boys and girls. It has been suggested that girls use more relational types of bullying and boys more physical at times.


Q5) What should my child do to stop the bully? How should they respond to the bully?

A) There is no one quick fix, no one magical solution to deal with bullying. We need to find what will work for us. As a first step for those low on confidence, they might want to try activities to raise their self esteem and confidence such as working on open body language, take up a sport or martial art, find ways for them to feel good about themselves.


Q6) What can parents of young children do about school bullying? 

A) Demonstrate through their own behaviour positive relationships. Listen and talk to their child, take their concerns seriously. Ask them what it is they would like done rather than charging in with their own ideas. Be aware that their child has the possibility to be a bully as well as someone who gets bullied. Keep an open dialogue with the school and their child’s teachers. Never stay quiet about bullying.


Q7) What can parents of teens do about school bullying?

See answer to question 6.


Q8) If I suspect my child is bullying others, what should I do?

See answer to question 6. Find out the truth, be honest with child and self. If they are bullying others, then find out why, are they masking some other inadequacy? Are they bullying because they are getting bullied? It’s very rare for parents to report to the school that they suspect their child of being a bully … be that first parent. Seek help – don’t try and deal with it all yourself, on your own.


Q9) What can I do as a parent to promote safe use of the internet, and minimise the risk of my child being bullied online?

Educate yourself about safe internet use s well as your child. Make sure you know as much as your child does about social networks etc. Do not let children have access to the internet in their bedrooms. Have a communal internet PC/Mac in a space where everyone can see what is going on.


Q10) What’s the most common question you’re asked by parents?

A) How can I stop my child from getting bullied.


Dr Andy Hickson

Director of Actionwork


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