Anti Bullying Week
Bullying can occur anywhere, including school, home, and online. Bullying is typically repeated over time and can harm a child physically and emotionally, even into adulthood. Anti-Bullying Week 2022 is coordinated in England and Wales by the Anti-Bullying Alliance. It is taking place from November 14 to November 18, 2022, with the theme Reach Out. Bullying affects millions of people and can make them feel helpless. But this does not have to be the case. It can be changed, if challenged and it all starts with reaching out. So reach out to your children and foster children and show them the support they require.
As part of Anti-Bullying Week, Sunbeam Fostering Agency is raising awareness among foster carers on how they can support the children they are looking after if they are affected by bullying.
Bullying is the repeated use of power by one or more person intentionally to hurt, harm or adversely affect the rights and needs of others
What is Bullying?
“Bullying is the repeated use of power by one or more persons intentionally to hurt, harm or adversely affect the rights and needs of others”, The Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum.
Bullying that occurs through electronic technologies such as mobile or smartphones, smart phone apps, social network websites, and gaming consoles is defined as cyberbullying by the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum.
How to Identify bullying?
It is not always easy to tell if a child is being bullied, but the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has some warning signs that you should look for if you suspect that children in your care are being bullied:
Belongings getting ‘lost’ or damaged
Physical injuries, such as unexplained bruises
Being afraid to go to school, being mysteriously ‘ill’ each morning, or skipping school
Not doing as well at school
Asking for, or stealing, money (to give to whoever’s bullying them)
Being nervous, losing confidence, or becoming distressed and withdrawn
Problems with eating or sleeping
What can you do?
If the child you are caring for is being bullied or you suspect they are, here are some strategies for talking to them and preventing further bullying. Fostering Network has laid down a few strategies for foster carers that can help them if the children in their care are being bullied.
Express any concerns to the child’s social worker and/or your own supervising social worker.
Explain to the child you are caring for that the bullying is not their fault and that you will work together to resolve the situation.
Bullying is never acceptable and should never be ignored.
Work together to support the child you are caring for. Make a plan and consider the steps to take as well as the skills they have to help sort out the situation. Always keep them informed of any actions you decide to take.
Explain to the child you are caring for that the bullying is not their fault and that you will work together to resolve the situation and express any concerns to the child’s social worker and/or your own supervising social worker.
If the bullying incident occurs at school, contact the class teacher or year head to express your concerns to the school in a calm manner while sticking to the facts about what happened to the child you are caring for. Agree with the school on how to address these concerns. This meeting should be followed up on in writing. Request a review meeting with the school in 2-4 weeks to ensure that some action has been taken to address the bullying.
Identify strategies that may assist children / young people in dealing with the situation, and practise how they might respond in given situations, such as how they might respond to children who are bullying them (for example: ‘I don’t like it when you say that to me / do that to me.’ ‘Stop.’); show them how to block or unfriend people if the bullying is happening online and assist them in identifying other friends or adults who can help them.
Encourage the child you are caring for to participate in activities that will boost their confidence and self-esteem, as well as help them form friendships outside of school (or wherever the bullying is taking place).
At sunbeam fostering, we are always available for our carers and provide them with all the support and trainings they might need throughout their fostering journey. If you are thinking of becoming foster carer, please give us a call on 020 8799 0930 or visit our website