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The Kidpower Guide to Happy School-days

7 February 2012

The Kidpower Guide to Happy School-days

It’s the start of a new school year and for many New Zealand children that means the end of safety at home and a return to the bullies at school. Bullying is no good for the bullies or the bullied and the more we do to prevent it or stop it in its early stages, the better off all our children will be throughout their lives.

Research shows up to 75% of our children are bullied in one way or another during their school lives and up to 1/3 admit to being the bully. A strong link has also been demonstrated between childhood bullying and later underachievement, drug and alcohol abuse, continuing patterns of abuse and even suicide. (

So how can we help our kids? Here are 4 simple suggestions to help us spot then address bullying in our families and communities.

Be Aware

There are many signs of bullying that we can all look out for. Physical signs include e.g. bruises or torn clothing but also be aware of less obvious clues. Examples include children becoming withdrawn and unhappy or reluctant to go to school. Some children regress in their school achievement or revert to childish behaviour e.g. tantrums, bed wetting and poor eating habits.

Often children will be afraid or reluctant to talk about what is happening at school but don’t let this put you off. All schools and activity providers should have bullying policies – you have the right to discuss this with a class teacher or any other staff member. See what you can find out from other parents about what goes on at school, youth group or where ever else you think bullying may be taking place.

Show you don’t tolerate bullying

If you see bullying taking place, stay calm and respectful and be persistent. Children need to know adults know how to respond to bullies and they will take their lead from us. If our children do not see us as adults dealing appropriately with bullying behaviour they will not trust us to help them address their problems.

Keep communicating

Make sure the child knows that you are on their side and work out a way forward together. Most children are bullied because they are an easy target in some way; maybe they have a quick temper, are very shy or wear different clothes.

Focus on what your child does well to give them confidence to be the person they want to be and to understand that if they are e.g. shy that does not make the bullying their fault. Communicate with the staff at school or location the bullying is taking place and with other parents – make it your business to know that your child is safe.

Be informed

There are many websites and books available dealing with bullying behaviour both from the side of the bullied and the bully including which has links to other resources and websites. Many organisations offer courses and workshops to help you deal with issues like bullying and abuse, again click on the links on the website for help or phone us on 0800 KIDPOWER for help and advice.

Web Links

Organisation Information

Kidpower Teenpower Fullpower Trust is a charity with offices in Nelson and Auckland. We work nationwide from these bases delivering programmes that teach skills to keep people safe with people they know and people they don’t know. We have programmes for those aged 4-7, 8-12, teens and adults. We also have a programme called Healthy Relationships to help those with cognitive disabilities – a group highly over represented in abuse statistics.

We are funded through the generosity of several grant making trusts and sponsors. We also charge a small fee where appropriate for our services.


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