I think one of most parents main fears when their children start school is bullying. Mine definitely was, especially having such a sensitive little girl. I know first hand how horrible girls can be!
Unfortunately, we’ve had a couple of cases to deal with in the first 2 years of school. The first incident in Early Years was a little boy who kept pinching, pushing and pulling Little H’s hair. We managed to nip it in the bud quite quickly and although I don’t want to make excuses for the boy, he was quickly identified as the class “problem child” so I think Little H had just been unlucky enough to be put next to him in class.
This year, in Year 1, it’s been more of the emotional bullying that unfortunately you expect from girls. Though I wasn’t expecting it from girls as young as 5 and 6! There’s been a group of girls following Little H around telling her they don’t like her and don’t want to be her friend. The worst part is that it escalated into them telling other girls in the class not to play with her either. In Little H’s world, everyone is friends and she just can’t understand it when someone doesn’t like you if you haven’t done anything.
Knowing your child is being bullied is heartbreaking, especially when you’ve been through it yourself and it can be hard to know how to stop bullying as a parent. Your first instinct is to want to go to the school and shout at the bullies and their parents – unfortunately, that’s not allowed!
Here are a few tips on how to deal with primary school bullying…
Speak to the school straight away
Any signs of bullying should be reported to a teacher right away – the quicker the teachers know about it, the quicker it can get sorted. Even if it sounds petty it’s worth mentioning it before it escalates to anything worse. Bullying can take many forms and if your child is upset you need to get it sorted out quickly.
Make sure your child knows who to speak to
As well as their own class teacher there should be other staff who your child can speak to. Make sure they’re aware of who they can go to at lunch time, or when they’re not with their usual teacher.
Put it in writing
Write down everything that your child mentions about the bullying, this way you have lots of examples ready when you speak to the teacher. It’s also a good idea to write a letter of complaint to the school with your concerns and outlining what has been going on. The school will have to act on any correspondence and keep it on file.
Check in with your child
Even if they don’t mention it to you, the bullying might still be taking place. There are many different types of bullying, and it’s important that kids know what is bullying and what isn’t.
Ask them questions about who they’ve played with at school and whether everyone is being nice. Ask them if there’s anything they want to talk about, rather than bombarding them with questions. Make sure they know they can talk to you about anything that bothers them.
Keep talking to the school
Tell the school that you want to be kept updated with how they’re dealing with the situation. Don’t worry about being a ‘pain’ and contacting the school regularly.
Reassure your child it’s not their fault
It’s really important that your child doesn’t think they’ve done something wrong. Explain to them why some children bully other children, and that the bullies are in the wrong. Let them know they’ve done the right thing by telling you or the teacher what’s been going on.
Hopefully, these tips will help if you’re not sure what to do when your child is being bullied – though really I hope you never have to use them!
If you have any other tips to deal with bullying I’d love to hear them, please leave them in the comments below for other worried parents.