‘This is a terrific novel which really brings to life the desperate situations families find themselves in when bullying occurs. It shows an extraordinary grasp of the issues and is handled in an extremely perceptive manner’
Kidscape, anti-bullying charity
Bone by Bone is about a mother, Laura, who discovers that her daughter, Autumn, is being bullied. The bullying has devastating consequences for Laura and Autumn. Sadly, bullying is horribly common: the NSPCC says that almost half of all children are bullied. Three-quarters of those bullied were physically attacked and 62 per cent were cyber-bullied in 2015 according to a report carried out for Ditch the Label. Nearly half of those children who were bullied, didn’t tell anyone about it, but suffered in silence.
Kidscape has some fantastic resources for schools, carers, parents, children and young people, which is why I want to support them. I was bullied as a child and although none of the things that happened to me, ended up in my novel, my experience shaped the story I told. You can read about my experiences and what prompted me to write Bone by Bone on the Kidscape website. Below are fives tips for parents provided by Kidscape to help deal with bullying.
- Speak to your child. Find a quiet time when you won’t be interrupted to talk to your child about bullying. Be patient, calm and understanding, and do not make assumptions or interrupt. Put your feelings aside and really listen to what your child is telling you so you can fully understand the situation.
- Give reassurance. Make it clear that the bullying is not their fault and praise them for being brave enough to confide in you. Assure them that now you know what is happening, the issues can be resolved.
- Report to the school. Schedule a meeting with the school immediately. For primary schools this is likely to be with your child’s classroom teacher, and for secondary schools, the head of year. Give specific examples of bullying incidents and how your child has been affected. Keep a log of incidents to facilitate this. Ensure a course of action is agreed upon regarding how the school will work to resolve the situation.
- Stay informed. Continue having open conversations with your child about their experiences with bullying, and report each incident to the school. If you are unhappy with how your child’s bullying is being dealt with, schedule a meeting with the school’s head teacher. If appropriate action is still not taken, it is within your rights to make a complaint to the school governors.
- Build confidence. Bullies often ‘test’ potential targets to see how they respond, and while the target is never to blame, those who appear the most vulnerable usually continue to be bullied. It is for this reason that alongside reporting incidents to the school, building your child’s confidence and self-esteem can be one of the most effective ways to help them. Kidscape runs free ZAP anti-bullying and assertiveness training workshops for young people and their parents/carers, which teach practical and effective skills .Please visit Kidscape’s website for more details about ZAP.
For more information about bullying, supporting your child and working effectively with the school, please visit the parental advice section on the Kidscape website: www.kidscape.org.uk/advice.