I have a serious post today, one I wish I didn’t have to address because I wish it didn’t exist at all.
However, and sadly, it does – and since I have a venue to share information with a broad audience, I feel it necessary to put it out there in the hopes that it will help someone…

Image courtesy of: London Anti-Bullying Coalition

This article is plagiarized (with permission) directly from the London Anti-Bullying Coalition’s “Parent Guide for Addressing Bullying” which you can read in full here.
Since I have no expertise in this matter, and haven’t done the same extensive research, I’m relying on – and am grateful for – their material to teach us all.

The Ontario Government defines bullying as follows:

Bullying is typically a form of repeated, persistent, and aggressive behaviour directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause (or should be known to cause) fear and distress and/or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem,or reputation. Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance.

Bullying is a form of abuse at the hands of peers that can take different forms at different ages. In the workplace, adults can become victims of bullying too. This is why HR departments exist. At times, some people may find it hard to speak about what they’re going though, but knowing that they have someone to speak to can make a big difference in getting this issues resolved.

and this often happens in the work place. Psychological injury can warrant a legal claim, so contact this Personal Injury Lawyer Toronto if this is something you have experienced or are currently experiencing now.
Bullying is defined as repeated aggression in which there is an imbalance of power between the child who bullies and the child who is victimized.
Through research conducted by PREVnet, experts state that bullying is a disrespectful relationship problem.
• Children who bully are learning to use power and aggression to control and distress others.
• Children who are victimized become increasingly powerless and find themselves trapped in relationships in which they are being abused.

Identifying bullying versus conflict:

Various Forms Of Bullying

Verbal Bullying: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” no longer holds true in today’s diverse society. Repeated verbal attacks that take the form of insults, racist remarks, homophobic slurring, taunting, belittling, cruel criticism, and sexually suggestive/abusive remarks are some examples. If verbal bullying is allowed or condoned, it becomes normalized and the target dehumanized.

Physical Bullying: This can include unwanted touching in the form of slapping, hitting, choking, punching, kicking, twisting of limbs, spitting, etc. The results of physical
bullying will often leave visible signs that can be detected by the parent.

Relational Bullying: This form of bullying is often difficult to detect as this takes place in the form of isolation, shunning and exclusion and is used to alienate and reject a peer or intentionally ruin friends through the use of rumours.

Cyberbullying: The use of technology to verbally, socially, or psychologically attack someone. Today’s children are dealing with things that we in our days never had to deal with. The relationship between parents and children, and the power we have to effect change is paramount with technology constantly changing.

Profile Of A Bully

Bullies are not all bad kids; they are just making bad decisions and behaving inappropriately.
1. May witness physical and verbal violence or aggression at home. They have a positive view of this behaviour, and they act aggressively toward other people, including adults.
2. The bully who has been both bullied and then becomes the bully. These bullies lash out as a result of being at the receiving end of bullying themselves in order to get some relief.
3. Are often physically strong.
4. Have trouble following rules.
5. Show little concern for the feelings of others.

Although there are different types of bullies, there seems to be a common thread.
1. They like being looked up to and often expect everyone to behave according to their wishes. Think highly of themselves.
2. Find it hard to see a situation from the other person’s perspective.
3. Are concerned only with their wants and pleasures and not the needs, rights, and feelings of others.
4. Tend to hurt other kids when parents or other adults are not around.
5. View weaker peers as victims.
6. Use blame, criticism, and false allegations to project their own inadequacies onto their target.
7. Refuse to accept responsibility for their actions.
8. Lack the ability to consider the short-term, long-term, and possible unintended consequences of their current behaviour.
9. Crave attention.

Profile Of A Victim

Any child can be at the receiving end of bullying. When it happens, parents often question why their child has become a victim. The reason why remains irrelevant.
Do not allow your school administrator to turn your child into an evocative victim;
i.e., “if your child weren’t so sensitive, maybe he/she wouldn’t be picked on.”
• Children who are sensitive.
• Children of different religious backgrounds.
• Children who are passive, nervous, or anxious.
• Children who are gifted or have a learning disability.
• A child who is already lacking in self-confidence.
• A child who is high on the social ladder at school.
• Children with physical disabilities.

Profile Of A Bystander

There are two kinds of bystanders. They are the child that stands by and says or does nothing when witnessing bullying, and the child that encourages the bullying by cheering him on. Regardless of the kind of bystander in any given bullying situation, both have negative consequences.
A child that encourages the bullying to continue sends the message that this kind of antisocial behaviour is acceptable and causes even more distress to the child who is
being bullied. It encourages the bully to continue with this kind of negative behaviour and it puts other bystanders at risk in that they become disillusioned. The more these children observe the aggressive actions of a bully, the more likely they start to imitate those activities, specially if the bully is high up on the social ladder at school.
Looking the other way and doing nothing also has its consequences. A child who is fearful of intervening or speaking out runs the risk of struggling with their own self-confidence.

Signs and Symptoms That My Child Is Being Bullied

It is reported that parents of bullies and school officials often blame victims of bullying for being weak and not being able to stand up for themselves. This, coupled with threats from their aggressors not to tell anyone, makes it difficult for them to talk with parents and teachers.
Ten percent of children are considered to be extreme victims who have been the victim of bullies for an extended period of time, and victims are just as likely to be boys as girls. They often report strong fears or dislike of going to school.
• Acts moody, sullen, or withdraws from family interaction.
• Becomes depressed.
• Loses interest in school work or grades drop.
• Loses appetite or has difficulty getting to sleep.
• Waits to use the bathroom at home.
• Arrives home with torn clothes, unexplained bruises.
• Asks for extra money for school lunch or supplies, extra allowance.
• Refuses to go to school (15 percent of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school).
• Wants to carry a protection item, such as a knife.

How You Can Help Your Child

How can we, as parents, respond to the crisis of bullying in schools today? By teaching all children the difference between conflict and bullying and how and why it is
harmful, educators and parents can create an important foundation to stop peer abuse before it starts.
It is important to remain positive at trying to find a solution and this attitude needs to be passed on to your child. Assist your child with learning that a confident and resilient appearance can make a dent at disempowering the child who is bullying.
• Don’t ignore the problem. Ask the school, family doctor, or other trusted sources for help.
• Familiarize yourself with board policy along with your school’s policy.
• Stay connected with your child, validate the feelings of your child.
• Explain to your child what bullying is and how to respond.
•Teach your child the importance of empathy.
• Set a good example.
• Look for warning signs.
• Talk to the school.
Children don’t understand why they have been targeted. Perhaps a discussion with your child as to why some children bully others will help them to understand that it is NOT their fault someone has chosen them to pick on. See page 14.
Children develop socially and emotionally at varying degrees. Your public library may have reading materials to assist you with teaching your child reactionary approaches and understanding that by changing the way they react could be part of the solution, even if it means they need to pretend they are not upset about the situation.

What If Your Child Is The Bully

If your child is the bully, the first step that a parent must do is acknowledge the fact.
As with the bullied child, have a conversation to find out why your child is behaving in a negative way. Your child may have some issues or problems that have not been
shared with you.
• Report your child’s difficulty to school staff.
• Support the consequences taken by the school at home.
• Discuss the short term and long term impact of your child’s behaviour.
• Ask the school for assistance to help build supports to change negative behaviour.
• Help your child develop relationship skills.
• Support your child in learning how they can make restitution for the harm they have caused.
• Insist upon constant communication with the school and the steps they are taking so they can be reinforced and supported at home.

Please visit the London Anti-Bullying Coalition’s page for more information – regardless of where you live.
The site can direct you to resources for help and reading materials for both adults and children to help address the seriousness and effects of bullying.

Have a great one!

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