Do you know if your child is being bullied? Here are some signs to watch for:
* Feelings of rejection
* Low self-esteem
* Poor grades at school
* Isolation, withdrawal from group activities at school and outside of school
* Agressiveness, nervousness, extreme sensitivity
* Fear or refusal to go to school
What is bullying…
Psychologists define bullying as a power relationship carried on by one individual or a group of individuals towards another person. Bullying does not necessarily need to be brutal or physical violence. Rumours, threats and hurtful words also lead to feelings of rejection.
What does bullying look like?
Teasing, hair pulling, pushing, pinching or touching without consent, insulting somebody by making crude, sexist, racist or homophobic remarks
Threatening looks, unsightly gestures
Writing unpleasant things about somebody (on paper or by email)
Threatening or scaring somebody
Stealing, “taxing” (extortion of money and personal items)
Targets for bullying:
Choice of clothing
Physical differences or faults (fast, slow, big or small development)
Distinctive characteristics of parents (different education from other parents of the region, religion, origin, language)
Introverted personality, solitary person
What Should Children Do?
Do not answer back with verbal violence
Ignore the insults by walking with your head up high
If you witness bullying towards another student, it is best to immediately refer what you have seen to an adult.
What Should Parents Do?
Discuss the problem with your child and try to obtain the name of the bully
Discuss the problem with the teacher and the principal of the school
Advise the child, but try not to do everything in his or her place.
Guide the child towards out-of-school activities
Do not encourage verbal or physical violence as a suitable means of defense
Do not trivialize the problem. Take it seriously!
(Source: Mia Lambert, Jeunesse J’ecoute and Annie Fernandez, Le Journal de Quebec)