Anti-Bullying Week: Advice for parents and guardians from Student Mentor Melissa

16th November, 2023

Academic Coach and Student Mentor Melissa shares her advice for parents and guardians as we mark Anti-Bullying Week.

Encourage your child to want to be liked rather than popular. Help them to realise that being kind, collaborative, honest, fun and considerate are the winning traits. As a teacher, I noticed how students who were well-liked had deeper friendships, a wider social net, and were often developing new connections. Being popular, ironically, looked a lonelier place – isolated by its position of leadership and higher status, and quite stressful given that it tends to be built on things like looks, clothes, money, haircut (!). Ask your child to consider which is the more lasting and the more meaningful state: popularity built on external stuff or being liked based on their internal character.

Get your child to recognise that bullies won’t have cultivated those winning likeable traits – often for reasons that are sad and invisible. If your child is being bullied, help them to see the qualities that the bully evidently lacks and how sad it therefore must be to be them. Encourage your child to cultivate compassion rather than anger or hatred; compassion can also serve as a powerful deflector. And of course, make sure the school is aware of the situation – not just for your child’s wellbeing but for the bully’s too.

Most importantly, help your child to identify what they value in life and what qualities they need in friends. Then encourage them to act in ways that nurture those values and find / attract those friends. Help them to redirect energy spent worrying or thinking about a bully into their own values and needs. Knowing and respecting themselves, building a like-minded network around them will make them happier. And it will help them to care less and/or be more compassionate about all the energy the bully is expending in their direction.

Melissa works with Enjoy students to coach them through the challenges of school and university life, from navigating exam anxiety through to building positive study skills and handling stressful situations. Get in touch with our Private Tuition team to find out more.