NSPCC helps parents spot the signs of bullying in their children

Girl lying on the bed, looking sad. Shallow DOF.

Bullying affects almost every child in some way – whether they are bullied themselves, they bully others or they witness bullying.

In today’s post on Bristol Mum, Sharon Copsey, the NSPCC’s regional head of service in the South West, offers parents help in spotting signs of bullying and what can be done to tackle them.

All children who are affected by bullying suffer harm, and in some cases the devastating effects can last into adulthood. At its worst, bullying has driven children to self-harm and even suicide.

While there are no official concrete statistics on the number of children who are bullied, research studies and what children tell us show that bullying is an issue that affects almost all children in some way.

During 2015-16, Childline handled 25,740 counselling sessions nationally in which a young person mentioned bullying or online bullying as their biggest worry.

It can be extremely distressing for a parent to find out their child is being bullied, or is picking on others, but it’s important to stay calm and not jump to conclusions.

There are many reasons why children bully others and it’s not always straightforward. They might not even realise what they’re doing is bullying.

It can be difficult for an adult, including parents, carers and teachers, to know whether or not a child is being bullied, especially as the child might not want to tell them in case it gets worse.

Possible signs to look out for could include the child becoming withdrawn, nervous, anxious or even depressed.

Having trouble sleeping, not doing well at school and being scared to go to school are also possible signs.

Teenage student (15 years) carrying bookbag on shoulder, looking down with serious expression

These NSPCC tips can help adults keep a child safe, whether they are being bullied or need to know what to do if it does happen to them:

  • Talk to the child about what bullying and cyberbullying are
  • Make sure they know they can ask any trusted adult for help, or call Childline
  • Help them relax and find activities that make them feel good
  • Teach them how to stay safe online
  • Talk to the school or club – even if the child is being bullied outside of school or online
  • Take things further if the bullying continues.

Anyone with concerns about a child can call the NSPCC’s adult helpline 24/7 for free on 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk.

Help for children and young people is available through Childline on 0800 1111.