Bullying – a new guide for parents and carers

Date: 24th August 2016
Category: Bullying

This publication by respectme (Scotland's anti-bullying service) will look at bullying behaviour, both face to face and online. It aims to build practical skills to support children to deal with bullying behaviour.

Bullying can have short and long-term effects on the physical and mental wellbeing of children and young people. Bullying can impact upon a child or young person's aspirations, confidence, relationships and quality of life. Problems such as disengaging from school work, clubs and friends, to self-harming and eating disorders can often manifest themselves as a means of coping. Children and young people who experience bullying can also avoid going to school or going online.

But the wider impacts of bullying, and the associated stress it can create, can also affect family members and the wider community. Strained relationships can be caused by disagreements or even feelings of blame or guilt when a child is being bullied. Some parents and carers who have experienced bullying themselves are often anxious that the same thing will happen to their child; even though there is no evidence to suggest that this is the case; and a lack of available help and support, or a determination to deal with the situation alone, can leave families feeling helpless and overwhelmed.

This guidance aims to tackle these problems through awareness, understanding and knowledge of these issues.

UN Concluding Observations

In June 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, following a UK State Party examination, released a set of recommendations, known as Concluding Observations that calls on the UK and devolved governments to take forward children's rights as enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

The Committee expressed concern that bullying, including cyberbullying, remains a serious and widespread problem and under Concluding Observation 49a) and 49b) recommended that the UK State Party:

- Intensify its efforts to tackle bullying and violence in schools, including by teaching human rights, building the capacities of students and staff members to respect diversity at school, improving students' conflict-resolution skills, monitoring regularly the incidences of bullying at school and involving children in the initiatives and monitoring aimed at eliminating bullying;

- In the light of the recommendations resulting from the day of general
discussion on digital media and children's rights, train children, teachers and families on the safe use of information and communication technologies, raise awareness among children on the severe effects that online bullying can have on their peers and increase the involvement of social media outlets in the efforts to combat cyberbullying.

These recommendations resonate with the issues and capacities raised in respectme's new anti-bullying resource.