What is Bullying and Signs of Bullying
Bullying refers to repeated and systematic harassment and attacks on others perpetrated by individuals or groups. It is not one-off incidents, but rather persistent acts of aggression.
There is not much difference between the bully and the victim. One is the aggressor and the other is the recipient of that aggression. Often times, the aggressor is acting out aggression accumulated from their own experiences of being taken advantage of. This post outlines some of the warning signs that your child may be bullied, or may be bullying others, and gives some tips on how to deal with this situation.
Bullying can be:
1. Physical – hitting, slapping, pushing, taking things from someone, damaging their property or clothing
LOOK FOR: Stains or tears on clothing, missing property, bruises and scratches on your child’s body, and new property in the case of your child engaging in bullying
2. Social bullying – this pertains to social exclusion, or affecting one’s friends circles and social support networks
LOOK FOR: changes in the child’s social circles, who is new, who is being left out? Not playing with someone and encouraging others not to play with them are forms of social bullying because they are attempting to isolate the person. Is someone being embarrassed publicly in front of others? Are rumours being spread?
3. Verbal – involves the use of verbal insults and taunts
LOOK FOR: changes in your child’s language, new words, especially derogatory names or taunts
4. Extortion and manipulation – refers to extracting something- food, money, homework, from someone under threat, and getting them to do things for you
LOOK FOR: Missing or new belongings
Psychological effects of bullying:
All of these forms of bullying can have Psychological effects – they affect one mentally, and result in changes in mental state and thus behaviour.
Warning signs can include a child becoming withdrawn and seeking alone time or not speaking, lack of concentration in class, poor attention and falling grades. Alternatively they can be acting out, being aggressive towards parents, siblings, classmates, on their toys or even pets (the animal is weaker than they are and can be a site for them to exhibit power and control).
As a parent, you need to be vigilant about your children’s social life – not restrictive, but alert! – to how they are interacting with others, physically, through their communication, and online.