Is Your Child Being Bullied?
What is Bullying?
Bullying tactics include:
Persistent teasing
Stealing from
Spreading Rumors
Verbal Threats
Physical Assault
Humiliation
Ignoring
Name-calling
Damaging Property
Exclusion
Put-downs
Intimidation

Bullying depends on the relationship between the victim and the bully: generally it occurs when the two are not friends and where there is a power difference due to size, age, or power.

It is also characterized by an intent to gain power and put the victim in distress.
Who Are Bullies?
Traits and behaviours include:
-low self-esteem
-paranoia
-seeing threats where none exist
-the desire to dominate peers
-the need to win, feel power, or feel in control
-no sense of remorse for hurting another
-refusal to accept responsibility for his/her behaviour
Who Are the Victims?
It is often the case that creative, caring and responsible children are the victims of bullying. If a first contact between a child and a bully shows the victim to be passive, shy, or lacking in confidence, he or she may be targetted again. An assertive response may reduce the likelihood of another contact.

Signs your child may be bullied may include:
-damaged or missing clothing or missing money
-school work is suffering for no apparent reason
-child changes his/her route to school
-child is reluctant to go to school or complains of feeling unwell before school
-child seems more emotional, easily upset or angry
-child suffers from depression, anxiety,poor appetite,nightmares, mood swings, or bedwetting
-unexplained cuts, bruises or scratches
-child declines or withdraws from usual activities
What a Parent Can Do
-Ask your child directly about bullying
-Suggest another person for him/her to talk to if not you: a teacher or family member
-Listen to his/her story in his/her own words and don't minimize or make light of the experience
-Avoid the impulse to "solve" the situation by immediately seeing the bully or the bully's parents - your child may dread this response
-Help your child with new strategies: if the abuse is verbal, your child confronting the bully when he/she is alone takes away the bully's audience and may make him/her feel less brave. Your child should be firm and tell the bully what he/she is doing that your child wants to stop.
-If your child is older, having him/her tell the bully how it feels to be bullied may help, but avoid accusations. If the bully won't listen or becomes hostile, your child should avoid him/her.
-If abuse turns to threats, your child should tell someone in authority.
-It may be helpful for your child to keep a journal of the bullying incidents and his/her feelings.
-Help your child develop a list of safe places to walk and play, places to avoid, and where to get help. Avoid walking or playing alone.
-Know your child's friends.
-Teach your child to be strong and kind and assertive.
-Having items stolen can be traumatic. Mark each item with the child's name and avoid taking things of value to school.
-Avoid trying to change things about the child which may have caused him/her to be a victim. New clothes, for example, may not stop the bully's behaviour as these things are just excuses to justify the bully's behaviour. Focus on why the bully needs to bully.
-If the bullying happens at school, talk to a teacher with whom your child is comfortable with your child present. Talk to the principal if you are not satisfied with the response. If the abuse is physical, you may want to ask not to have your child or you identified while the situation is settled.
-In some cases bullying may escalate once the bully has been found out. If all else fails, you may want to attempt to talk to the bully's parents but be aware that they may be in denial or display similar behaviours themselves.
-Reassure your child throughout and ensure that he/she knows that your love him/her and the problem is not him/her. Try to provide some fun and enjoyment during a difficult time.
What a Child Can Do
-Tell a friend what is happening and ask him or her for help.
-Try to ignore the bully or say "No" or "Go away" firmly and walk away immediately.
-Try not to show that you are angry or upset. Laugh or ignore comments. They can't bully you if you don't care.
-Think up funny or clever replies in advance if the bully is not too threatening and just needs to be put off.
-Don't fight back.
-If you feel threatened, give the bully what he/she wants. It's not worth getting hurt to keep money or possessions.
-Try to avoid being alone in places the bully may be. Change your route to school; stay around other people.
-Asking the bully to repeat what he/she said may throw him/her off and give you more control in the situation.
-Keep a diary of what is happening and your feelings about the incidents. A written record helps explain when you do decide to tell someone and can help you understand how you feel about the situation.


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