Looking out for signs of perpetrators and victims

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Life and confidence coach Michele Walsh gives some advice about bullying and what signs parents can look out for in their children:

Let’s start with those compelled to bully other people.

There is no one reason why someone should gravitate into becoming a bully.

Sometimes it can be in an attempt to get recognition where they maybe don’t in their home life, it can certainly be learnt behaviour where maybe they have grown up in an environment where physical or mental bullying is taking place on a daily basis and so that becomes their default setting for repeating the bullying outside the home.

Unfortunately this response behaviour is very often an unconscious response initially and then becomes something that they grow to control in a manipulating and menacing way.

This can then evolve into very conscious action as the power and control they gain as a result can become addictive, momentarily giving them a superior status, thus creating supreme power at someone else’s expense.

The basic premise of being a bully are self-esteem issues, crying to be acknowledged, seen and heard but in a very wrong way.

They say we are a reflection of all our thoughts and feelings and if this is the case then the ‘bully’ is radiating feeling rubbish, not good enough, with very low self-esteem and fighting for attention any which way they can.

On the other hand, the cost to the person being bullied is immense.

Maybe they start out as a bit quiet and shy and obviously give off the impression that they will not stand up for themselves if they are targeted by either a specific person or a gang of bullies.

This creates a vicious cycle – shy and timid can quickly turn into being ‘not good enough’ and feeling ‘there must be something wrong with me if I am being picked on’.

Through fear of retribution, they are frightened to tell anyone for fear the bullying will just get worse.

There are various ways to spot if your child is being bullied and also some things you can do to help make them more confident to stand up to the bullies:

If your child is increasingly withdrawn and quieter than normal

They may become moody and defensive

They are reluctant to tell you what’s going on

They don’t want you to get involved

Things you can do to help:

Get them involved in activities that will boost their confidence, such as drama, sports and dance.

The vital key is when they feel stronger in themselves and they give out a different vibe and no longer become a target for bullies

If they are younger, get them to draw pictures, they often express how they are feeling through pictures

Try and get them to imagine themselves more confident (maybe imagine they had the confidence of someone they admire) and full of self-esteem. The more they practise, the better they become.

For more specific help and advice seek out the services of a professional NLP practitioner, hypnotherapist, psychologist or other appropriate therapists.