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Things to remember when dealing with bullying

There are many reasons why a pupil may be bullied in, and outside of, school. Here are a few things that are worth bearing in mind when dealing with bullying incidents and some tips on how you can use some of the free Dove Self-Esteem Project resources to help you examine some of these bullying-related issues with your pupils.

Self-esteem can be both the cause and the result of bullying

A pupil struggling with low self-esteem who is insecure about the way they look or how they express their personality, may use cruelty towards others as a defence mechanism to shift the negative focus onto someone else. They may highlight someone else’s ‘flaws’ and make them feel bad to distract from their own insecurities.

Bullying often focuses on body talk and appearance ideals

Bullying often manifests itself in verbal form and can lead to pupils being made to feel bad about their personality and particularly the way they look. Bullies may highlight ways in which the person they are bullying fails to live up to the appearance ideals set by social media personalities, bloggers and other influencers. This can make the person being bullied feel inadequate.

Bullying does not stop when the school day is over

In the past, bullies had to face their victims when bullying them, but social media and instant messaging has removed that direct interaction and created a barrier. Bullying that may occur in school can easily continue on social media platforms.

The PSHE Association-accredited Dove Self Esteem Project resources help you to deliver a series of five self-esteem sessions to help boost your pupils’ self-esteem. You can use all five sessions with your pupils or opt for the Confident Me single session workshop – a condensed session that looks at all topics.

How Dove resources can be used when talking about bullying:

  • Session one, Appearance Ideals. Here pupils explore and challenge where these ideals come from, how they’ve changed, the pressures they put on us and the other qualities we can celebrate instead.
  • Session three, Confront Comparisons. Pupils will see how focusing on appearance often leads to unhelpful comparisons. Instead of judging other people's physical features, they examine more positive ways of making comparisons.
  • Session four, Banish Body Talk. Examining the problems body talk can cause, including how it can damage self-esteem, pupils develop techniques to reframe conversations for a more positive impact on body confidence.

Download your free teaching resources here to help boost your pupils’ self-esteem 

You can also download the free Uniquely Me parent guide which is packed with much more advice and some practical activities to help support families with boosting their child’s body confidence and self-esteem.


This downloadable pdf contains expert advice from Dove Self-Esteem Project global experts from the fields of psychology, body image, self-esteem, eating disorders and media representation to create a resource for parents that is focused on advice and action.

Read, download or print the free Uniquely Me parent guide