If you do a search for “my child is being bullied,” you'll be inundated with different websites and practical advice as to what to do if this is happening to your child.
I was bullied at school and it was horrible. It doesn’t only affect the way you feel when you’re at school but, in my experience, totally clouds your time when you’re away from school too. You always feel a bit unsettled, worried and anxious and it completely takes away your self-confidence.
I wasn’t bullied in the sense that I was hurt physically - it was more exclusion, being laughed about and teased. To be honest, at the time I didn’t even tell my parents as I thought real bullying was much worse. When I was young and watched programmes such as Grange Hill, the kids being bullied were physically hurt so for me I didn’t realise at the time that I was in fact a victim of bullying.
I know now that bullying can take many different forms including being called names, being teased, being pushed or pulled about, having money or other possessions taken away from you, having rumours spread about you, being ignored and left out, being hit, kicked or hurt, being threatened or intimidated.
I am so thankful that I’m not a child today because I suspect it must be much worse now with the onslaught of cyber bullying. This adds a whole new level and one I’m sure I’ll have to deal at some point with my own children.
This week (14th to 18th November), is Anti Bullying Week and during this time, our Perform For Schools education team will visit a number of schools with our Anti-Bullying workshops. Through these workshops, we aim to try and empower children with tools they can use to help deal with situations if they’re being bullied.
As we're drama teachers, we focus on body language and vocal confidence. Often if you look confident on the outside, you feel more confident on the inside and so are less likely to be bullied. We also work on the importance of having a strong voice because again, if you speak in a strong, confident voice, you are less likely to be the victim of a bully.
I could go on forever on this topic but I wanted to share with you a game that we play within this workshop called “Throw away hurtful words” which you can try at home with your child if they are unfortunately experiencing some form of bullying.
- Explain that if someone says something to you that’s hurtful you can just throw it away.
- Explain that it’s just a word and you can take the power out of hurtful words by physically chucking them away.
- For example, say “I don’t like you”, ask them to catch it, look at it before throwing it away and say something positive back like, “Well, I like myself.”
- Explain that you don’t have to be rude back but say something strong and positive.
When Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high” it made me think of this exercise, so do have a go if you think it’ll be helpful. Hopefully, through a combined, concerted effort we'll be one step closer to erradicating bullying in society.