ZAP workshops for bullied children

Chris came to a ZAP workshop in Birmingham with his mum, who reflects on the day


Photo: Young people taking part in a ZAP workshop

It's increased Chris'* [9] confidence a little bit and he's a bit more relaxed about things. Because of previous bullying, we'd sort of given him the tools that we were told about at the workshop.l. but it's that thing of hearing them from somebody objective and seeing how the other children were listening and saying "Oh, yeah, I could use that in this situation" - it gave him more confidence to use the tools that perhaps he already had.

Chris struggles with school a little, he is very bright but he does get very wound up and very stressed at school. What was very interesting was when we had the parent group, and we were all given a few minutes to talk, just hearing from these other parents that their children display a lot of the same behaviour, and a lot of it is down to stress and anxiety, which can be related back to bullying. So it was sort of confirmation again of what you think and it's just great to hear there's other children displaying the same things, and other parents trying to deal with it as well.

I knew of Kidscape when we started to have problems at the previous school, and we weren't sure where to go - somebody suggested I contact them. Kidscape were very helpful in telling me how to proceed with the school.

Like a lot of children who have suffered bullying, they don't always handle situations terribly well, so I was probably a bit anxious about how Chris might react to the workshop, but the welcome was great and very relaxed, very professional. He felt relaxed immediately. He's very confident, but even confident kids can be on edge, but he was very relaxed. It was all very much explained that we would be back at lunchtime so the kids felt very secure, and there was no rush and it was all handled very well.

"What goes on in the room, stays in the room"

I thought it was terrific, and all the children seemed to have had a really good day - they all came out really positive and it was interesting hearing from others. As a parent, to be in a room with other parents, with a chair, somebody controlling the discussion, and just having that time to stop and think and talk about it, without the distractions of kids was very, very useful because you don't [normally] get that opportunity... And because the chap running it had said to us and the children, "what goes on in the room, stays in the room", we haven't spoken in detail to Chris about it because he repeated that back to us. I think that's probably really powerful for them as well, that they've done something and they've owned it and it's theirs, and that would be very empowering for the children who've been made to feel they're 'weak', or 'targets'. Now they've got something that is theirs and no one else has got a right to it... it's theirs to use how they want so I think that's very well thought out and delivered.

* Name has been changed

To find out more about our ZAP workshops, click here. If your child is under 9, you can also contact our Parent Advice Line.

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