09:39, Friday, 19th March 2021

Contact’s guide for dealing with bullying

Read Contact’s guide on dealing with bullying for families of children with disabilities.

“You’re not the only one in this situation. And you don’t have to handle it on your own – support is out there. You will come out the other side.”

– Parent carer

Spotting the signs of bullying

It can be hard to know if your child is being bullied. Some children hide their feelings and don’t find it easy to tell an adult what is happening.

They may be worried about your reaction and scared about telling someone at the school. Children with communication difficulties may not understand they are being bullied or could struggle to tell someone wha is happening.

What to look for:
We asked parents how they realised their child was being bullied. They came up with a number of signs to look for:
• becoming withdrawn, if previously outgoing
• coming home with cuts and bruises
• regularly coming home with torn or missing clothing
• refusing to go to school or a youth club
• doing less well at their schoolwork
• changes in mood – becoming depressed, angry, anxious
• changes in behaviour, for example wetting the bed if they have been
dry at night
• being aggressive at home with their siblings and other family members
• sleep problems, nightmares, early or late waking
• getting more headaches, stomach aches and other minor illnesses
• immersing themselves more into obsession and fantasy
• self-harming, cutting, hair pulling, skin picking
• wanting to change their journey or time of their journey to school.
These signs may not always be due to bullying. Changes in your child’s behaviour could be caused by other things at school or home, but it’s important to find out more.

Tips for talking to your child

If you think your child is being bullied, you could ask the following types
of questions:
• what did you do at school today?
• who did you play with?
• what did you play?
• did you enjoy it?
• would you have liked to play with someone else or play different games?
• what did you do at lunchtime?
• is there anyone that you don’t like at school? Why?
• is there anything that you don’t like about school?
• are you looking forward to going to school tomorrow?
Ask questions to suit the needs of your child. The type of questions you
ask may depend on the age of your child, their level of understanding and
their anxiety about the situation.

Source: Contact- For families with disabled children

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