As schools and youth groups across Mid Ulster take part in this year’s Anti-Bullying Week, which starts today, anti-bullying co-ordinator Lee Kane is urging parents to talk to their children about bullying and what can be done to tackle it.
The Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF) worker explained: “This year’s Anti-Bullying Week [Nov 17-21] is themed under a banner ‘Together We Will Make a Difference – END BULLYING NOW’ and during the week schools and youth groups are being encouraged to explore with young people the various roles we can all play in taking a stand against all forms of bullying.
“It is clear parents and carers play a vital role in tackling bullying, both in our schools and in our communities.
“Children look first and foremost to their parents or carers for help and support, therefore it is important they have an understanding of what bullying is and the different ways they can support children to prevent bullying and to respond if it is happening.”
Lee added: “NIABF would encourage parents to use the opportunity that Anti-Bullying Week provides to start a conversation with their children about the importance of treating everyone with respect. Discuss with them the different forms bullying can take. Talk to them about how they can make other children feel comfortable and safe, or how they can help someone who may be experiencing bullying.
“NIABF defines bullying as ‘the repeated use of power by one or more persons, intentionally to harm, hurt or adversely affect the rights or needs of another or others’. While not all unacceptable behaviour is bullying, it is still important that it is challenged.”
Many young people speak out about bullying they are experiencing, but sadly, others do not.
Lee continued: “Bullying is an issue that affects us all. As adults looking back, the vast majority of us can remember a bullying incident from our childhood. Perhaps we were being bullied. Maybe we witnessed bullying taking place. In some cases, we might have been the one bullying others. We must all now take a stand and say ‘NO’ to bullying.”
“It is important to remember that there are people who can provide support to parents or carers and to children. For more information and links to organisations that provide support log onto the NIABF website – www.endbullying.org.uk”.