- Bullying refers to intimidating behavior, including actions, words and pressure, that makes another person feel inferior. It can happen at school or at home and may lead to the bullying victim not wanting to go to school or withdrawing from society.
- Signs that your child may be a victim of bullying include fresh wounds and bruises, the child appearing stressed, depressed or withdrawn, and often unwilling to talk about their friends and what is going on at school.
- Parents should urgently seek more information by asking their child what is happening, speaking with teachers or the bully’s parents, and consulting a doctor in order to find a solution for the root cause of the child’s issue.
Bullying means to tease or intimidate, whether that be through actions that cause physical harm or by saying hurtful things and pressuring the victim, all of which result in the person feeling terrible. Children who are victims of bullying at school or in the home usually suffer emotional harm. Additionally, bullying can have a detrimental effect on the parents of the child being bullied as they tend to stress and worry about why their child does not want to attend school or social events. Furthermore, the ever-changing digital landscape we inhabit means that “cyberbullying,” or intimidating people via social media, also causes emotional harm to our children.
Signs that your child is being intimidated or bullied
- They exhibit signs or symptoms of injuries resulting from violence
- They tend not to speak about friends or things going on at school
- They appear stressed, frustrated and generally not themselves
- They seem depressed and often spend time alone
- They experience stomach pain, dizziness and a loss of appetite
- They have nightmares or frequently wet the bed
Therefore, if any of the following issues arise parents should urgently explore whether their child is a bully or a victim of bullying:
- A teacher informs you of problems at school
- Your child is increasingly aggressive
- Your child comes home with toys or other items that is not theirs
- Your child is frequently accusatory
- Your child does not accept responsibility for his or her actions
- Your child is overly competitive and wants to be the center of attention.
How to help if your child is a victim of bullying
- Urgently seek opportunities to speak with your child. If your child admits to being bullied, contact the school at the earliest opportunity in order to find out what the school plans to do to find a solution.
- Help your child feel good about themselves. Encourage your child to take care of themselves, for instance, supporting them to be hygienic, maintain a healthy diet and use their free time constructively, such as exercising and other good uses of their time. Once your child begins to receive compliments from others, it will help build self-esteem, meaning that should they encounter a bully they will have the tools to protect themselves mentally.
- Analyze the problems that are causing your child to be teased. For example, if your child is being persecuted for their possessions and often has money or objects stolen, try to find a way to stop this from happening. For example don’t send your child to school with too much money, and prohibit them from taking games, comics or other valuable items to school.
- Teach your child the importance of having friends. A close group of friends can protect your child from becoming a target of bullying and persecution. Remind their child that when someone steals from them or intimidates them, they should tell an adult immediately.
- Teach them to be brave. Encourage your child not to show signs of fear when being teased or tormented. These responses often result in the bully gaining satisfaction and continuing or increasing their negative behavior. Tell your child that they are not weak, and to be confident by calmly telling the bully to stop treating them this way. Moreover, it is essential that you teach your child not to meet violence with violence as this usually escalates negative situations.
- Talk with the parents of the other party. Inform the parents of the situation so that you may work together to find a solution. This can go a long way toward ensuring that neither child falls into a cycle of negativity by either bullying or being bullied.