Your Family - School Bullying

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Whether it's physical, verbal, emotional, racist or sexual, bullying can affect your child in a number of ways.

Read on for more advice on spotting the signs and what you should do.

This advice is for mums and dads, but if you are being bullied, we've got some special advice for you here.

There are a number of things that you can keep a look out for, as your child might not be willing to admit that they are being bullied. Your child might want you to drive or walk with them to school, instead of taking the bus, walking alone or with friends. They may also pretend to be ill to avoid going to school, or they could play truant. They could even resort to stealing money to pay a bully. They may appear depressed, shy or have low self-esteem, their schoolwork may suffer, or they may seem isolated with very few friends.

If they consistently come home with damaged clothes or books, have had their money or possessions go missing, or they have unexplained scratches, cuts or bruises, act aggressively and unreasonably, or have nightmares, you might want to sit down and have a chat with them.

The best way to help your child if you think they are being bullied is to ask him or her directly about it. Act sympathetically, take bullying seriously and do your best to find out all the facts first. Explain that they have done the right thing telling you.

Talk to your child's teacher or head teacher and calmly make them understand that your child is being bullied and you want it stopped. The school should have an anti-bullying policy which you can ask to see. You could also have a chat to other parents and discuss ways to stop bullying. If the bullying is happening on the way to and from school, arrange to meet your child or walk home with them.

It may take some coaxing to get your child to talk about what's happening to them, and you shouldn't feel upset if your child is unable to talk to you. It's probably just as upsetting for them.