Bullying: What You Need To Know

Bullying often happens between the ages of 7 to 11 years as children are not closely supervised in the playground. However it may take place at earlier ages and may be just as damaging to the child.

For boys bullying often takes the form of physical attacks or threats. Girls usually take the form of verbal abuse which is directed at the individual’s self esteem.

Teasing and insulting a friend are often part of friendship, and although it can be painful it is often not malicious, whereas bullying is vicious and is done with intent.

Children who bully others often do it form many reasons, some of which may be:

  • For material gain, money, sweets etc.
  • To detract from their own feelings of
    inadequacy
  • Jealousy
  • If they are bullied at home

Violence and aggression in television can encourage children who already have a tendency to bully others, but often parents unconsciously encourage bullying by remarking about their children’s physical exploits.

The victim

Some children are more likely to be bullied, such as those who are different. Maybe they wear glasses, are fat or thin, they are the new child at school, they may be either intelligent or slow at school, or they may be a different race to their classmates. Those children who are weak or show distance are also likely to be bullies as they will satisfaction to the bully.

Signs of bullying

There are many signs of bullying, including:

  • Reluctance to go to school
  • Moody and/or withdrawn behaviour
  • Requests for more pocket money
  • Lack of concentration at school

What to do ? 

When you have established that your child is a victim, the first step is to find out who the bully is. This information can be very difficult to obtain as your child may fear retaliation if they child approaches the teacher.

Talk to your child’s teacher as they may be aware of what is happening, often the teacher can diffuse a situation if it arises and can act quickly at any sign of trouble.

As a parent you can teach your child techniques to avoid being bullied:

  • Stay in a group of other children when the
    bully is around.
  • Talk to others, if they are involved in deep
    conversation they may feel less vulnerable.
  • Pretend not to notice the bully.

What if my child is a bully?

If your child is bullying others, you will probably be informed by the school. You can ask for assistance from the school with dealing with the situation. You as a parent, need to find out what the causes of the bullying is. They may have learned at home that bullying gets you what you want. If this is the situation, then you  need to demonstrate better ways for your child to achieve this.

If your child is feeling inadequate, look at what they do well and concentrate on those aspects, always rewarding achievements. If you can work with the teacher and help your child to feel more confident in a
constructive way, they may cease bullying as they gain confidence in themselves in an reasonable manner.