Tag Archives: anti-bullying

Tip #4 How do I tell if my child is being bullied?

So, now we know what it is, how do we know if it is happening?

Beane (2008) suggests the following as indicators of possible bullying that can be observed by parents, guardians or teachers:

• Difficulty concentrating in class and easily distracted.
• Wanting to take a different route to school.
• Sudden loss of interest in school activities.
• A sudden drop in grades.
• Possessions often lost or damaged without explanation.

• Uses ‘victim’ body language – head down, shoulders hunched, avoids eye contact

• Prefers the company of adults at playtimes.
• Becomes overly aggressive and unreasonable.
• Talks about running away.
• Frequently asks for extra money.
• Carries protective devices.
• Sudden loss of respect for authority figures.

• Coming home from school, quieter than normal

• Not wanting to go to school (eg. faking a sore tummy or feeling sick)  arrives home with unexplained scratches,   bruises, damaged clothing.

• They can experience headaches, start bedwetting or have difficulty in sleeping.

Children will often not say what is happening to them directly.

As boys get older they use more avoidance strategies to try to avoid the bully, however, if this fails it can often overflow into a physical confrontation. Eg. the bully continually pokes a child in front of him in class or pulls a chair from his intended victim as they are about to sit. this may lead to the victim ‘ losing it’ and attacking the bully, regardless of consequences.

Girls will usually revert to telling a friend about what is happening to them, which often provides the extra support they need and resolves the problem.

So, now we know what to look for, what can we do?

Snitching v’s Bullying

TIP #3 SNITCHING V’S BULLYING

So, what is the difference? The main difference here is the intent.

Snitching is:

  • Trying to get someone in trouble or hurt them
  • Looking for attention
  • Done because you want to get your own way
  • Telling when it is not bullying or important and could be handled by yourself

Reporting is:

  • Telling a parent/teacher/guardian about a situation that is dangerous.
  • Looking out for your safety (both physical and emotional) of yourself and your peers when severely threatened
  • Speaking up because something is really wrong; not because you want to get someone into trouble.
  • when you can’t resolve the problem and need adult intervention

This is often difficult for kids especially as they get older. They often will NOT report something that SHOULD BE reported for fear of retribution from the bully as well as their peers.

My book How Polly Became a Pirate is being used in schools in Johannesburg, South Africa to help younger kids up to 12 years old get around the problem of ‘snitching’. At the end of each chapter, there is an interactive page where they can ‘talk to Polly,’ here they can say if they or anyone they know is being bullied and even draw a picture of what the bully looks like.

So far it has been successful in identifying bullies at schools because students don’t feel they are snitching, but rather chatting to Polly. Parents have also found this useful in identifying problems their children are having which they didn’t even know about. It is almost like writing a diary but to Polly.

https://www.amazon.com/How-Polly-Became-Pirate-Piralympics/dp/154831756X

When do you know if your Child is being Bullied

When does a parent know whether or not their child is being bullied?

Bullying is a repeated form of attack whether verbal, physical or cyber bullying. Random name-calling and teasing are just that  – random. Yes, parents need to be aware that little ‘Johnny’ was teased at school today, but that does not mean you have to go racing up to the school.

Stop!

Ask questions.

“Has X done this to you or someone else before?”

If NO then it is probably an isolated incident and unfortunately part of every child’s growing pains. Usually, in these cases, the children have long since forgotten what happened and moved on.

If YES, now is the time to act.