At St. Matthew’s we talk to children about how to build good relationships with their classmates all year round. However, we use Anti-Bullying Week to address some of the key messages around bullying – what it is, how it feels, how to prevent it and what to do if it happens.

Parental understanding and involvement are essential if anti-bullying work is to be effective. We want to share some information which might be useful for parents.

What do we teach about bullying?

Bullying is when somebody hurts you:

S- several

T – times

O – on

P – purpose

This could be physical or verbal or it could be done online.

Bullying is not the odd occasion of falling out with friends, name calling, arguments or fights. However these are also serious incidents which would be dealt with by teachers.

At St. Matthew’s we do the following:

* We have Golden Rules to keep everyone safe

* We teach children how to build friendships

* We support children to develop coping strategies

* We plan lessons, assemblies and displays which teach children about bullying

* We teach children how to be safe online

* We encourage children to talk to an adult if they feel that they are being bullied

* We celebrate differences and challenge stereotypes

Why do some children bully others?

All children at some point could become a bully or become the victim of bullying. There is no stereotype of a typical bully or a typical victim. Children bully for a variety of reasons:

* It might seem funny at the time – they don’t realise that it hurts

* They want to impress others around them

* They are jealous

* It makes them feel powerful

* They feel bad about themselves and so they want to make others feel the same way

* They have been bullied themselves and are taking it out on someone else

Often, children who bully need support too.

How do I know if my child is being bullied?

Here are some possible signs and symptoms:

* Becoming withdrawn or anxious

* Saying that they do not want to come to school

* Complaining of feeling ill

* Having trouble sleeping

* Some physical signs

You know your child better than anyone – if you think something is wrong, encourage them to talk to you about how they feel.

What should I do if my child is being bullied?

* If your child tells you that they think they are being bullied, keep calm. Getting angry can often make children worry even more.

* Listen to your child

* Encourage your child to talk to a trusted adult at school – if they refuse, then offer to talk to the class teacher on their behalf

* Where there might be evidence such as text messages or emails, keep these to share them with the school if necessary

* Allow the school to look into your concerns

* Advise your child not to retaliate – this makes the situation worse

How can I protect my child from cyber-bullying?

Today one of the most common forms of bullying is cyber-bullying. Many children have access to the internet through mobile phones and computers. Here are some simple ways to protect your child from cyber-bullying or other dangers online.

Remind your child:

* Never to give out personal information online

* Never to share passwords, even with your best friends

* Think before you send out a message or photo of yourself -these can be shared by others and this is out of your control

* If you are sent a nasty message or picture, keep it and show a trusted adult

* Block people if they are sending messages which upset you

* Don’t reply to nasty messages