On the Couch with Helen And MonicaWe cannot believe it’s September and the longest of all the holidays in the school calendar is at an end and the children are back in school.

For some children it is an exciting time; going to different new schools, meeting up with old friends, or making the transition into their final year of learning and being ‘school children’.

In some cases however, (and we would like to say many cases, due to the number of children accessing our service), this may be the return to experiences of bullying and social isolation.

A good question you may ask yourself however is, what is bullying? Is it a shove and a push in the playground, name-calling in the classroom or deliberate physical threats given during and after school.  In many cases it is all of the above and in some instances can be even worse.  With the rise of technology we now have additional types of bullying such as cyber bullying and text bullying and whilst many adults can empathise with their own experiences of being ‘unpopular’, with this type of bullying there is no where to run, no where to hide and it is also  publicly acted out.

Bullying is about misuse of power.  It is about naming a difference and sometimes this can be a positive difference, for example your child being good at something, but their difference or individuality being used against them through ridicule, humiliation and sometimes violence.  Bullying is an insidious and potent behaviour which can be extremely traumatic for the victim.

So what do you do if you think your child is being bullied?  Our suggestion is to ask your child if they are being intimidated in any way, and listen to their concerns however big or small you as the adult may feel they are.  If you feel this, as a parent, is beyond your ability to cope then you may want to contact organisations that can help, such as Child Line, Parent Line, The NSPCC and the school itself.

Alternatively if bullying has been recognised and your child is struggling, counselling can provide a safe environment and a safe relationship at a very unsafe time.

As well as parents, helping professionals, who work with children who would like to know about child development and positive interventions, may be interested in our national conference on the 15th of October with Dr Margot Sunderland.  Details can be found on our website.

Helen & Monica

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