Stop the Bullying!

Bullying is a worldwide occurrence that can have serious and sometimes long-term implications on victims such as depression and loneliness, and less extreme outcomes such as sleeping problems and feeling tired. More terrifying, bullying begins to emerge in the preschool years and is common among primary school children. When this happens, what part do you, as a parent, play?

Understanding Bullying

Bullying can be seen as verbal, psychological or physical behaviour intended to hurt someone less powerful. Many studies have also distincted bullying behaviour by gender, associating boys with physical attacks and girls with less subtle forms of verbal and psychological attacks. Examples of psychological bullying include, isolating the victim from activities, making faces, spreading rumours, and destroying or hiding victims’ belongings.

The Victims

Generally, there are two types of victim:

  1. Passive/Submissive victims: These victims are generally more anxious and insecure than other students. They are often cautious, sensitive and quiet. When attacked, they commonly react by crying or withdrawal and they usually have low self-esteem and negative view of themselves. They are also lonely and abandoned at school and usually do not have a good friend in class.
  2. Provocative victims: Characterised by a combination of anxious and aggressive reaction patterns, these students often have concentration problems and behave in ways that may cause irritation and tension around them. Their behaviour can sometimes provoke other students in their class, resulting in negative reactions from the others.
What Adults Can Do

As the implications have suggested, it is important for early intervention once the act of bullying is identified. You may also follow some of these suggestions if your child is a victim or a bully.

Suggestions to your child’s school:

  • Develop school rules and share thoughts against bullying. Pointing out the hurt that bullying causes may make the child stop and think twice about bullying behaviour.
  • Identify red zones in school where bullying occurs most so that teachers or school authorities may keep an eye on those ‘hot’ spots.
  • Identify both the bully and victim early and report their behaviour to respective parents so that early intervention can be taken together.

Suggestions to parents:

  • Share and discuss with the school concerning your child’s bullying or victimisation behaviour. You may also want to involve yourself in school programmes to counteract bullying.
  • Be a good role model of appropriate interpersonal interactions so that your child may learn to respect his or her peers.
  • Pair your child up with a friend because support from a close friend may buffer the effects of victimisation.

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