A 2019 report revealed 22% of UK teens reported being bullied in 2019, a worrying statistic given studies show bullying often results in depression, anxiety, under-achievement, isolation, and self-harm.1 Bullying is a common concern for parents, and many parents ask of prospective schools, ‘does the school experience bullying?’ The sad fact is, bullying is part of human nature, and as such, all schools experience some form of bullying. The question should therefore not be, ‘does the school experience bullying?’, but ‘how does the school deal with bullying?’

Teenager

Teenager

However, tackling bullying is not the sole responsibility of a school. As the parent, you can also take positive action to challenge inappropriate behaviour and support your teen.

1. Avoid hearsay from the playground or other parents and ensure you stay focused on your teen. As much as you would like to believe your teen, be aware there are often two sides to a story, and whilst you must listen carefully to what your teen is saying you must also be prepared that the real story may not be so clear-cut. In some cases, the bully may even turn out to be your teen.

2. Never encourage your teen to retaliate; can you imagine the outcome if adults solved workplace disputes with physical violence? Your role as parent is to impart skills for life, not just the teen years, and to encourage your teen to handle disputes in a mature and reasoned manner.

3. Always avoid intervening directly with another young person. Approach a teacher or designated child welfare member of staff in the first instance.

4. Be aware of the school’s bullying policy before approaching your teen’s school. All policies should be available on request and are often posted online on a school’s website.

5. Keep a record of all responses from both your teen and the school. Make sure you are aware of what actions will be taken, by whom and by when.

RELATED: 10 Reasons why children bully others

6. There is usually a clear hierarchy through which you can escalate a concern if you feel it has not been resolved adequately. Beyond class teachers, you could contact the head of house/head of year, a senior manager, the head teacher and ultimately the chair of governors. Depending on the type of school, it may also be possible to raise your concerns with the academy provider, local diocese, or the education department of your local authority.

7. Reduce opportunities for your teen to be targeted. Ensure your teen has clean clothes available each day and access to sanitary and hygiene products. Encourage them to spend less time on social media, especially channels such as YOLO and Sarahah, anonymous comment apps that can easily facilitate cyber bullying.

8. Encourage positive activities such as sport. These not only promote the mental and physical health of your teen but can also support the establishment of new friendship groups.

9. Perhaps most importantly, ensure your teen has both an identified person and a safe place to which they can turn if they are feeling vulnerable. This should be established jointly between your teen and the school. Your teen may further wish to find support outside of the school environment, through a friend, relative or support group.

Haynes Publishing’s Teenager Manual by Andrew Bryant is priced at £12.99 and is available now from www.haynes.com.

RELATED: What does it mean to dream about a bully?

To dream about a bully indicates that there are people or situations that are making you feel down lately. It can also signify a situation or person you want to confront but feel it would be too difficult to do so. If you didn’t stand up to a bully in your dream, then you may be someone who shies away from challenges or perhaps you have given into to someone lately... to read more click HERE 


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