Don't Suffer in Silence
Information for parents and families
[If you are a student being bullied click
Every school is likely to have some problem with
bullying at one time or another. Your child's school must by law have an
anti-bullying policy, and use it to reduce and prevent bullying, as many schools
have already successfully done.
Bullying behaviour includes:
Name-calling and nasty teasing
Threats and extortion
Damage to belongings
Leaving pupils out of social activities deliberately and
Spreading malicious rumours
Parents and families have an important part to play
in helping schools deal with bullying.
Discourage your child from using bullying behaviour at home or
elsewhere. Show how to resolve difficult situations without using violence
Ask to see the school's anti-bullying policy. Each school must have
an anti-bullying policy, which sets out how it deals with incidents of
bullying. You have a right to know about this policy which is as much for
parents as for staff and pupils.
Watch out for signs that your child is being bullied, or is bullying
others. Parents and families are often the first to detect symptoms of
bullying, although sometimes school nurses or doctors may first suspect
that a child has been bullied. Common symptoms include headaches, stomach
aches, anxiety and irritability. It can be helpful to ask questions about
progress and friends at school, how break times and lunchtimes are spent,
and whether your child is facing problems or difficulties at school. Don't
dismiss negative signs. Contact the school immediately if you are worried.
If your child has been bullied:
Calmly talk to your
child about it
Make a note of what
your child says, particularly, who was said to be involved, how often the
bullying has occurred, where it happened, and what has happened
Reassure your child that
telling you about the bullying was the right thing to do
Explain that any further incidents should be
reported to a teacher immediately
Make an appointment to
see your child's class teacher or form tutor
Explain to the teacher the
problems your child is experiencing
Talking with teachers about bullying
Try and stay calm. Bear
in mind that the teacher may have no idea that your child is being bullied
or may have heard conflicting accounts of an incident
Be as specific as possible about
what your child says has happened: give dates, places and names of other
Make a note of what
action the school intends to take
Ask if there is anything you can do
to help your child or the school
Stay in touch with the school.
Let them know if things improve as well as if problems continue
If you think your concerns
are not being addressed:
Check the school anti-bullying policy
to see if agreed procedures are being followed
Discuss your concerns with
the parent governor or other parents
Make an appointment to
meet the head teacher, keeping a record of the meeting
If this does not help, write to the Chair of Governors
explaining your concerns and what you would like to see happen
Contact local or national parent support groups
Contact the Director of Education for your
authority, who will be able to ensure that the
Governors respond to your concerns
Contact the Parentline Plus helpline
for support and information at any of these stages
In the last resort, write to the Secretary of State
for Education and Employment
If your child is bullying other children
Many children may be involved in bullying other
pupils at some time or other. Often parents are not aware. Children sometimes
bully others because:
They don't know it is wrong
They are copying older brothers or sisters or other people
in the family they admire
They haven't learnt other, better ways of mixing with
their school friends
Their friends encourage them to bully
They are going through a difficult time and are acting out
To stop your child bullying others:
Talk to your child, explaining that bullying is
unacceptable and makes others unhappy
Discourage other members of your family from bullying
behaviour or from using aggression or force to get what they want
Show your child how to join in with other children without
Make an appointment to see your child's class teacher or
form tutor. Explain to the teacher the problems your child is
experiencing, and discuss how you and the school can stop him or her
Regularly check with your child how things are going at
Give your child lots of praise and encouragement when he
or she is cooperative or kind to other people
Resources for parents and families about bullying:
J. Alexander. Your child bullying: practical and
easy to follow advice. (Element Books, 1998).
M. Elliott. 101 Ways to deal with bullying — A
guide for parents. (Hodder and Stoughton, 1997).
Kidscape. Keeping safe: a practical guide to
talking with children. (Kidscape, 152 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W
S. Lawson. Helping children cope with bullying.
(Sheldon Press, 1994).
G. Lindenfield. Confident children: a parents'
guide to helping children feel good. (Thorsens, 1994).
A. Mellor. Bullying and how to fight it: a guide
for families. (Scottish Council for Research in Education, 15 St John
Street, Edinburgh EH5 5JR, 1993).
J. Pearce. Fighting, teasing and bullying: simple
and effective ways to help your child. (Wellingborough: Thorsons, 1989).
A. Train. The bullying problem: how to deal with
difficult children. (Condor Book, Souvenir Press, 1995).