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'Experts offer help on how to tackle this sensitive and difficult issue with children
Think2Speak is a Lincoln-based organisation which can offer advice and help to parents, children and schools about the issue of bullying in a variety of ways including counselling, support, training and age-appropriate resources.
Here Lucy Scott, a Think2Speak Emotional Wellbeing Advisor, and Maggie Murray, Think2Speak Counsellor, offer their advice on helping a child who is being bullied, whatever the nature of the abuse.
1) If a child is routinely being excluded from a group of friends and isolated from the group and this is initiated by one child, is this classed as bullying?
ChildLine defines types of bullying. It is being called names, being put down or humiliated, teased, being pushed or pulled about, having rumours spread about you, being ignored and left out, being hit, kicked or physically hurt and being threatened or intimidated. So yes, this is classed as bullying and exclusion is a control method.
2) What can be done by parents to help their child overcome this kind of bullying?
Read stories together that are written especially to develop a child's understanding about bullying issues. Look at safe websites together such as ChildLine to help their child to identify how they really feel and to deepen their awareness of what is happening to them. A parent can also educate their child that sometimes other children can be unkind because they have worries too. They might not feel loved, important or cared for by a family member.
3) Should teachers be taking this kind of emotional/psychological bullying seriously?
Absolutely! If a child feels sad, alone, angry, or is worried then these feelings should be taken seriously because these emotions can affect their ability to learn and feel safe within their educational setting. If their individual needs are not being addressed, then they are neglecting the child's development.
4) What can teachers do to help children understand how this kind of behaviour is just as wrong as being physically abusive?
Lots of education on bullying. There is a book called, 'Something Else' by Kathryn Cave, that addresses exclusion and differences. This book is appropriate for all age ranges and can be a starting point for circle times and discussions about social exclusion.
5) If you could give the child being bullied one piece of advice, what would it be?
The reassurance that they are going to be okay and this will pass.
Be kind and your kindness will shine through you and this will help you to make new friends.
Always talk to someone, nothing is too awful, or too big or small to talk to someone about.
If the first person you talk to doesn't listen or can't help, talk to someone else. I would also tell anyone experiencing bullying that it's a feeling in the child using bullying behaviour that has led to the bullying and in no way the victim's fault.
For more advice, visit the website at www.think2speak.com or call 01522 253 155'