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The message from Anti-Bullying Week this year is to choose respect over bullying. Respect is a two way thing. Communication is where respect starts, so we look at how we can talk to our kids about this sensitive issue.
When young people feel valued, it can have a positive effect on their self esteem. This has far-reaching consequences on their impact on those around them. On the other hand, a lack of confidence can be a contributing factor in children and young people not speaking out when they are concerned about being bullied.
If we miss out on early opportunities to discuss these issues, the situation can quickly escalate and become a much bigger problem that’s more difficult to tackle.
Bullying rarely springs up overnight. It isn’t a one off incident of someone being mean - it’s a sustained emotional or physical attack.
Discuss bullying with your children early on at a level that’s right for their stage of development. Be mindful of the barriers that might be preventing them from confiding in you. According to research carried out this year by Ditch the Label the main reasons are: they're worried they'll be called a snitch, they’re scared of it getting worse and that they won’t be taken seriously.
There are ways to encourage an open and ongoing communication about bullying and other issues for kids. Children are more likely to ask for advice and confide in you if they think you’re interested in them and their concerns. Ask them daily how their day was and how they felt about the things that happened. Try to have patience and really listen to what they’re saying. Respond to the things they’re sharing with you by asking questions and commenting on what they’ve shared.
These questions are a great way to start the discussion about bullying:
● What do you think 'bullying' is?
● Have you seen bullying happening? What did you do? How did you feel?
● Why do you think some people bully other kids?
● What adults would you talk to when it comes to things like bullying?
● Have you ever felt scared to go to school because you were scared of someone bullying you?
● Has someone tried to bully you? What ways have you tried to change it?
● What do you think parents can do to help stop bullying?
● Have you or your friends left other kids out on purpose? Do you think that was bullying? Why or why not?
● Have you ever tried to help someone who is being bullied? What happened? What would you do if it happens again?
Bullying is sadly still very present in many children’s lives and can have serious consequences. The more we talk about it, the closer we’ll get to stopping it. We take bullying very seriously at Barracudas Activity Day Camps. If we notice this sort of behaviour at camp we take immediate action. We encourage mutual respect amoungst children at camp and promote the values of teamwork and inclusivity.
If you’d like some more advice on how to beat bullying take a look at our earlier blog.
Let us know about your experiences or tips by leaving a comment below.