Bullying is a very serious concern gripping educational institutes around the world today. While schools adopt a zero tolerance policy, it is still exists.
Bullying involves repeated, unwanted, overt/covert acts of verbal/physical aggression, towards another child or group. This can lead to a lot of psychological trauma for the child, including lowered self-esteem, depression, eating disorders and in really serious cases even suicide.
At such an impressionable age, it is hard for the “bullied” to stand up for themselves. Getting the message that they are not “good enough”, children start to believe it. They are afraid of being judged as “weak” or being threatened, hence they don,t see the option of talking to their parents about it. To the bullied child it feels like a lose-lose situation. Hence, it is of utmost importance to talk openly and to educate your child about it. This includes telling them about the 4 types of bullying.
1)Verbal – (Teasing, writing mean messages, name-calling)
2)Physical-( Hitting, tripping, breaking things)
3)Social- ( Spreading rumors, leaving someone out)
4)Cyber-(Posting hurtful comments/pictures/videos)
Talking about this,lets them know that you’re there to help them. Be clear that bullying is unacceptable and no matter what the bully threatens, your child must never keep it a secret from you. Help them formulate solutions of how they can protect themselves right from the beginning.
Parents should keep an eye out for the following signs of bullying:
2)Books being torn or things missing.
3)Sudden mood swings, increased irritability, crying or the desire to “be left alone”.
4)Sudden nightmares, crying while sleeping or even bed wetting is a red flag.
5)Not wanting to go to school nor wanting to talk about school anymore.
6)Random complains of body aches or illnesses so as to avoid school.
7)Changes in perception of self and ability. Sudden thoughts of “I’m a loser”.
8)Talks of suicide or harmful behavior towards self.
Extinguishing bullying is as important as being able to identify it. To achieve this, it is necessary to create an empathetic and safe environment, where a child can immediately approach an adult for help. Taking assertive, quick and organized action towards the bully, would set an example and keep other bullies at bay. It would allow bystanders and other bullied children to come forward.Parents and Institutes must make it a goal to be vigilant and protect their children from this damaging experience.