Anti-Bullying – One Kind Word
Anti-Bullying Week is coordinated in England and Wales by the Anti-Bullying Alliance. This year it takes place from 15 to 19 November 2021 and it has the theme One Kind Word.
The week will begin with Odd Socks Day which is supported by CBBC and CBeebies star Andy Day and his band Andy and the Odd Socks.
The Wales Police School Programme, in partnership with schools is promoting the importance of kindness throughout this week.
This week is also an excellent opportunity for families to have conversations around this important topic. Schools will be raising awareness with children of the importance of respecting diversity, showing kindness to others and signposting children and young people to who can help, if they are aware of any behaviour that is happening to another that is not kind, and which may be bullying.
It is important for parents to check in regularly with their children on how they are doing socially, as well as academically in school. To also find out if their child is witnessing any bullying behaviours and if so whether they know what to do.
Often when children are asked how their day went, they respond with, “Fine”.
Getting children to talk about their experiences and emotions is very important, as it helps them manage the things that are going on in their life and builds their resilience.
How to get your child to speak more openly to you about their thoughts and feelings.
Here are some good conversation starters to get a child speaking about their feelings.
- What was your favourite part about school today?
- What did you enjoy most at school today?What did you least enjoy at school today?
- If you could do any moment of school again today, what would that be?
- If you could skip past any part of school day today what would that be?
- What was the funniest think that happened in your class today?
- What happened today in school that made you feel sad, worried, or unhappy?
- What happened in school today that made you smile?
- What was the most interesting thing you heard at school today?
- If you could change just ONE thing about school, what would that be?
- What 3 words would you use to describe your best friend in school?
- What 3 words would you use to describe break time?
- When I went to school there were some children that were unkind, or mean, have you noticed anything like that at your school? If so, what have you seen?
- Did you notice anyone today being left out? How do you think this made them feel? Can you think of anything kind you could do to help?
What if your child says they are being bullied?
1. Most importantly, listen to your child openly and calmly. Focus on making them feel heard and supported, instead of trying to find the cause of the bullying or trying to solve the problem.
2. Tell the child that you believe them; that you are glad they told you. Make sure they know that it is not their fault and that you will do your best to find help.
3. Talk to the teacher or school. You and your child do not have to face bullying alone. Ask to see your school’s bullying policy or code of conduct. This may apply for both in-person bullying and online bullying.
4. Work with your school to resolve the bullying, follow all the steps like speaking to the Head or a Governor, or if necessary, to the Local Authority’s Education Department.
5. Your child can talk to the School’s Police Officer who will help.
6. Be a support system. For your child, having a supportive parent is essential to dealing with the effects of bullying. Make sure they know they can talk to you at any time and reassure them that things will get better.
What if your child is showing bullying behaviour?
1. Communicate. Understanding why your child is acting in this way, will help you know how to help them. Are they feeling insecure at school? Are they fighting with a friend or sibling? Are they worried about something? If they are having trouble explaining their behaviour, you may choose to consult with a school counsellor, social worker, or mental health professional who is trained to work with children.
2. Work through healthy ways of coping. Ask your child to explain a scenario that frustrated them and offer constructive ways of reacting. Use this exercise to brainstorm possible future scenarios and non-harmful responses. Encourage your child to ‘put themself in the other child’s shoes’ by imagining the experience of the person being bullied. Remind your child that comments made online still hurt in the real world. Involving your School Police Officer where needed can help, as they are trained to help children restore harm they may have caused, through restorative approaches.
3. Think about what happens at home. Children who are showing bullying behaviours can be responding to what they see in their environment. Are they exposed to physically or emotionally harmful behaviours? Look inward, and think honestly about how your child experiences their world.
4. Give opportunities to make amends. If you find out your child has been bullying, it is important to respond with appropriate, non-violent consequences. This could be limiting their activities, especially those where bullying might occur (social gatherings, screen/social media time). Encourage your child to apologize to their peers and find ways for them to be more inclusive in the future. Practice being kind.
There is a very useful activity book aimed at KS3 pupils that explores bullying and hate crime. It can be downloaded here:
If children witness any behaviour that might be described as a hate incident outside of school, they can report such incidents through the Fearless app. This is completely anonymous. https://www.fearless.org/en https://www.fearless.org/cy
The Welsh Government has lots of useful advice: is-your-child-being-bullied.pdf (gov.wales)
There is more information for parents in our parent’s section around this theme. Please click on the parent’s button on the menu bar above.