Don't let your child become a victim

Nobody wishes his or her child to be bullied. You shouldn't have to put up with it nor should your child. Sometimes it's difficult to spot because your son or daughter keeps it hidden from you but their distress is total. Bullying can be Physical. Verbal, Emotional, Racist or Sexual. It happens at any age from nursery to comprehensive school, even eventually into the work place. You must stop it early. Bullying can result in depression, low self-esteem. Shyness, poor academic achievement, isolation, or in the worst possible cases threatened or attempted suicide. Your child's quality of life cannot be subject to the whim or brutality of another.

Few circumstances are more frustrating for parents and family than when their child is the target of a bully. Falcons Martial Arts offer a Non-Contact, Playground Self-Defence Program which will give your child the confidence and skills needed to avoid trouble and rise above the bully so you and your family don't have to worry. We also offer an excellent fitness routine, discipline, self-confidence, self-achievement, and a life skill, all at the same time as having fun.

Parents Guide To Bullying

 Going back to schools after a holiday break or even after the weekend can be a very worrying time for both parents and pupils alike, as one of the main concerns is Bullying.
Nobody wishes his or her child to be bullied. You shouldn't have to put up with it nor should your child. Sometimes it's difficult to spot because you son or daughter keeps it hidden from you, but their distress is total. Bullying can be Physical, Verbal, Emotional, Racist or sexual. It happens at any age from Nursery School to Comprehensive School. You must stop it early. Bullying can result in Depression, Low Self-Esteem, Shyness, Poor Academic Achievements, Isolation, even Threatened or Attempted Suicide. Your child's quality of life cannot be subject to the whim of brutality of another.

Forget the myths about bullying

"I was bullied at school, it's character building" - yeah? What sort of character would you like your child to have? Low self esteem? Depression?
"They'll just have to learn to stand up for themselves" - Children who tell you they have been bullied are desperate for help.
"Tell them to hit back" - Bullies are usually bigger or tougher than their victims. Your child could get hurt.
"Calling names can't hurt" - Bruises from blows heal, name-calling can leave scars for life.
"Its just kids teasing" - Once teasing hurts, it's no longer 'just fun' and must stop.

Look For Possible Signs Of Bullying

Children may be frightened of walking to or from school, change the usual route, not want to go on the school bus, beg you to drive them to school, be unwilling to go out, feel ill in the mornings, begin truanting, begin doing poorly in their school work, come home regularly with clothes of books destroyed, come home hungry (bully has stolen money or food), become withdrawn, start stammering, lack confidence, become distressed and anxious, attempt or threaten suicide, cry themselves to sleep, have their possessions go missing, ask for money or start stealing money (to pay bully), continually lose their pocket money, have unexplained scratches, bruises, cuts, even begin to bully other children themselves! They may become aggressive and unreasonable and give improbable excuses to explain any of the above.

How You Can Help Your Child

If you are worried ask him or her directly. Bullied children are often frightened to tell what is happening so be prepared for your child to deny at first there is anything wrong. Encourage your child by saying you are concerned and want to help and support him or her. Take what the child says seriously. Don't promise to keep the bullying secret but reassure your child that you will help them sort out the problem.
If your child is a perpetual victim and are bullied wherever they go - perhaps they don't know how to talk of play with children. Help them develop social skills by role-playing. (Pretend you are another child and help you child work out acceptable approaches).
If you discover that your child is being bullied because of obnoxious habit (picking their nose for example), help them change this behaviour.

Bullying damages self-confidence so rebuild it. Keep telling your child you love them very much and you are 100% on their side. Reassure them that the bullying is not their fault. Explain that reacting to bullies by crying of getting upset only encourages them. Victims should try not to react to the bully's taunts. If bullies cannot goad their victims into a response they soon get bored. Practise assertiveness techniques. Practise saying 'NO' very firmly, and then walking away. It's hard for a bully-to-bully if the victim doesn't get upset and just walks away. Help your child think up replies to taunts. It helps to have a reply prepared - help your child with this. Try to minimise the opportunities for bullying, i.e. don't carry valuable possessions, don't be the last one in the changing rooms, stay with a group even if they are not your friends.

Always make time for you child and praise them frequently. Make opportunities for you child to do well, i.e. helping with house/garden/car and praise them. Encourage your child to join groups where there is strong adult supervision. Encourage them to develop a hobby or sport. Encourage them to do things they are good at - this will help confidence. Arrange outings.

How To Approach The School

When you learn that your child is being bullied, keep a diary of incidents and make notes of all injuries with photographs and details of doctor/hospital visits. Additionally, keep notes of everyone you speak to about the bullying, and keep copies of letters you write. When talking to staff try not to be aggressive, lose your temper, or shout & swear.

Progressive Positive Steps, To Take Over School Bullying

Class Teacher - Contact the class teacher and request a meeting and ask for an investigation. Make a follow up appointment a week later to find out the result.
Head Teacher - If your child is still being bullied go see the Head Teacher. Make out a short list of points you want answered and ask to see a copy of the schools anti-bullying policy.

Board of Governors - If the bullying still continues contact the Board of Governors. Threaten Police involvement if there is no action.
Police - In cases of Assault/Theft your child has been attacked, or has had his/her property stolen, then report this to the POLICE even if the bully is under ten. Ask the police to make out a charge sheet. Getting the police involved frightens the bully and makes the school react quickly.

Local Government - Wherever you live there will be a local authority that licences schools - write to them. Your letter must begin, "I am writing to make a formal complaint".

Member of Parliament - If the matter is not dealt with to your satisfaction then contact your local reprehensive.

Do not be put off…Do not let them fob you off…Do not let them blame your child… KEEP taking action to get the justice you deserve for your child.
Ensure your child maintains their Self-Defence/Martial Arts training to give them support, more confidence and make new friends. The first they will want to do is pack up their training, believing they should have sorted it out themselves, not realising that the Martial Arts will help them out in many other ways other than fighting.
Talk to youth leaders who may know the children involved. Involve your child in groups that do not involve the bullies.

Inform the police, talk to your community officer and ask for help. 
Talk to witnesses of the bullying - would they be prepared to back you up?
All physical assaults should be reported to the police. Insist police make a charge sheet as it can make the victim feel better and can deter the attacker. Take pictures of all incidents and keep a record of medical treatment. Assaults are CRIMINAL offences you can prosecute against.

I hope this has given you a greater insight into discovering and dealing with bullying, clarity is power. This letter may seem very hard hitting however, remember, the greatest gift you can give your child is the gift of CONFIDENCE. NO ONE has the right to steal that from your child, as without it there is little they can do. Try the hardest you can to never let your child stop training in the Martial Arts until they leave school.