As our children get ready to go back to school in the next few weeks, hopefully they are looking forward to seeing all their friends again, and maybe making some new friends too. But if your child has been bullied in the past, they may be facing the new term with some apprehension. They probably enjoyed a summer free from whoever has been bothering them, but now they may be worried that the new term will bring the same old problems.
So what can you do to deal with this problem as early in the term as possible?
Look out for any signs of stress if you think your child is worried about potential bullies in the classroom - this may include moody behaviour, bedwetting or anxiousness. But in the end, the problem may be easier to handle than you think:
Don't assume that things will be as bad as before
The bully may have moved schools, or they may have matured and mended their ways. Reassure your child that this term may be better than before.
Speak to your child's new teacher
Some schools are better than others at passing on information from year to year, so check that the new teacher knows if there's a history of trouble between your child and another pupil.
Help to reinforce your child's confidence
What interests do they have, when do they seem to be at their most confident? Check out motivation expert Dr Wayne Dyer's book Incredible You as a way to increase younger children's self esteem.
Remember that this is the school's responsibility to deal with
You are not alone in this, or at least you shouldn't be. Resist the temptation to approach the bully or their parents directly - make all your approaches through school. They will have dealt with situations like this before and will have an anti-bullying policy in place. Make sure they stick to it - start by putting the issue in writing so that it has to be dealt with officially.
For extra help, especially if your child's school isn't as supportive as it could be, check out the resources on the website of Bullying UK, the UK anti-bullying charity. They can even help if it's your child who's the bully, so don't be afraid, the solution is out there.