Bullying: how to recognize it and react

What is child bullying?

How do you get aware if a child is being bullied?

How to help a child who is being bullied?

What to say to a child who witnesses child bullying?

How to prevent child bullying in children?

What to do when a child bullies another child?

To remember

Each school service center is required to have an intervention plan in the event of violence and child bullying. As a parent, you also have a role to play if you think your child is being bully. See how you can accompany it.

What is child bullying?

Child Bullying is when one person repeatedly tries to dominate another through teasing, violent gestures, or rejection. The person who bullies usually acts deliberately to harm or hurt the other person. We are not talking here about a simple argument between friends in the schoolyard, but about a power relationship that hurts or crushes the other, repeats itself and lasts for a while. Often, bullying takes place even in the presence of witnesses. Moreover, the more witnesses there are, the more power the bully feels he has. If you want to color cat coloring pages click it.

The different forms of bullying can be: The gestures and behaviors described below must be repeated and extended over a certain period to conclude that they are bullying. However, it is still important to encourage your child to report any situation in which he feels hurt or threatened, even if it only happens once.

physical or material: hitting someone, knocking them down, pushing them, pulling their hair, breaking or taking their objects, or making unwanted touches. It is the easiest way for child bullying to observe;

verbal: insulting someone, threatening them, making unpleasant remarks, or humiliating them;

social: feeding false rumors about someone, attacking their reputation, excluding them from a group. In elementary school, this can often manifest when a child asks others not to play with the victim anymore, for example.

The consequences of child bullying

All forms of bullying are harmful to a child. He may experience distress, humiliation, insecurity, and invasion of his privacy. In the short term, bullying hurts his self-esteem. He may also be unmotivated, scared, and no longer want to attend school. In the long term, bullying can lead to anxiety, academic difficulties, absenteeism from school, memory problems, depression, etc. It is therefore essential not to take such a situation lightly, to detect the first signs of bullying, and to intervene appropriately. If you want to color cat coloring pages click it.

Cyberbullying: to watch out for

Using cyberspace (text messages, emails, social networks, online games, etc.) to send insulting or threatening messages, exclude a child from a group, or ridicule him by publishing a photo without his consent: c is called cyberbullying. This type of bullying is distinguished by its often anonymous character. This can lead to more impulsive actions and reach a wider audience, for example when bullying messages are shared on social media. The bullying situation can then become out of control for the victim. Cyberbullying is present primarily in adolescence. However, it can affect elementary school children, especially if they spend much time online. Children are increasingly using social networks to communicate with their friends. Many also play online video games to chat with other gamers.

Cyberbullying can easily remain invisible to parents. It is therefore strongly recommended to know with whom your child communicates when he is online and to check the nature of his conversations. Make sure he’s in a place where you can see what he’s up to online, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about his virtual relationships. Teach him not to chat with people he doesn’t know since there’s no way to verify their identity. It is also a good idea to take an interest in games and social networks popular with children to understand how they work and ensure that your child safely uses them. You can also install parental control programs or applications on your screens to limit access to specific sites and content.

How do you know if a child is being bullied?

  • When a child is being bullied, he does not always have the reflex to come and talk to his parents or an adult. He may also be afraid to talk about it. It is therefore essential to be attentive and listen to your child to recognize the signs showing that he is experiencing child bullying. Here are attitudes and behaviors that may indicate your child is being bullied. It may manifest one or more of the following signs:
  • His interest and motivation for school diminishes greatly;
  • He will no longer want to go to school ;
  • He withdraws into himself, becomes more secret, and isolates himself;
  • He seems sad, unhappy, and easily irritated;
  • He often tells you that he does not feel well, that he is sick;
  • His grades start dropping without you being able to explain it;
  • He sleeps badly;
  • He comes home with dirty clothes or wounds;
  • He avoids contact with other children;
  • He is not enthusiastic about doing group or school activities;
  • He experiences anxiety, fear, mistrust;
  • He doesn’t want to talk to you about what he’s doing at school or about his peers;
  • He seeks the presence of adults;
  • He makes detours so as not to take the usual route, wants to arrive very early or very late at school so as not to meet the pupils in the yard;
  • He denigrates himself, for example, he finds that he is not good at school and that the others are better than him;
  • He says he lost or had his personal items stolen, such as his lunch, snacks, toque, game cards, etc.
  • If your child tells you about a problem that looks like bullying or if you suspect that he is the victim, do not wait, act immediately.
  • Try to find out more by asking him questions.
  • Stay calm and attentive, because your child needs to feel comforted.
  • Let him talk at his own pace without interrupting.
  • Don’t judge him. Don’t tell him what he should or shouldn’t have done. Just ask him to describe the situation to you in detail.
  • Show him that you are with him. Tell him that he has a right to feel safe and that you will take action and help him find a solution.
  • Assess the situation with him. For example, can he change the situation by clearly expressing his limits? Does he have allies? How far does the intimidation go? Above all, do not invite him to violence.
  • Get him to name what he feels. Build on his strengths and help him assess the importance he places on the bully.
  • Encourage him to report the situation by talking to his teacher. Explain to him that he is not causing a problem by denouncing this type of situation, but on the contrary, he is protecting himself and other students against the bully.
  • Also communicate with the school. Notify his teacher* and the school administration. Stay calm and do not alert everyone around you. Do not attempt to resolve the situation yourself directly with the child’s bully or their parent. I prefer the presence of a mediator, such as a school administrator.
  • If the school administration does not respond or react in a way that you are satisfied with, notify the school service center of the situation. If you are unsatisfied with this process, contact the student ombudsman at your child’s school service center.
  • Please encourage your child to hang out with friends he can count on. Your child is less likely to be bullied when in a group, and if this happens he will be better able to defend himself in good company.
  • Stay tuned. Ask for a follow-up with school staff to make sure the problem is resolved.
  • If the problem persists and you feel that your child is significantly affected by it, seek help from a psychologist or psychoeducation from the school, the CLSC, or an organization near you.

Child Bullying at school: what the law says

The Education Act obliges school service centers to set up a prevention and intervention plan in the event of violence or bullying. Must give this plan to the parents. The school administration is responsible for taking up complaints in cases of bullying or violence. Each school service center has its student ombudsman, who ensures everyone’s rights are respected, much like the Public Ombudsman.

What to say to a child who witnesses bullying?

If your child tells you that he saw someone else harass or bullied, ask him to tell you the details of what happened. Make sure he was a witness, not the victim. Also, tell him that he did well to tell you about it and remind him not to remain silent in the face of an act of intimidation.

Ask him if he wants to talk to someone from the school staff in your company. He may be afraid of becoming intimidated if he denounces the situation. Reassure and explain to him the importance of denouncing this type of situation. Do not hesitate to use children’s literature to discuss the situation with him. If he doesn’t want to talk to his teacher about it, tell him that you will let him know, because this behavior is unacceptable. This shows him the importance of taking action to stop the bullying. 

How to prevent bullying in children?

You can’t prevent bullying because you never know when a bully will show up. However, it is possible to make your child aware of the phenomenon to help him have a good attitude towards bullying. Here’s how :

  • Explain what bullying is and teach him to recognize bullying gestures with concrete examples. You can use children’s books on the subject to help you.
  • Please encourage your child to name and express the emotions and discomforts he experiences. Encourage him to tell the other what’s bothering him or hurt him and settle his little quibbles.
  • If his discomfort persists, encourage him to seek help from someone you trust.
  • Do not hesitate to role-play with your child to put him in situations where he must assert himself, say what he thinks, and set his limits.
  • Remind him that he can always come and talk to you if he feels intimidated and that you will help him.
  • Leave the bullying scene
  • Do not respond to the attack
  • Tell a trusted adult.
  • Find a friend who agrees to stay with him when he is not safe.

What to do when a child bullies another child?

It is also possible that your child is bullying another child himself. The first thing to do is to discuss it calmly to understand why he is acting this way.

  • Listen to your child with kindness and let him express his point of view.
  • Make it clear that you take the situation very seriously and don’t condone this behavior.
  • Explain to him the consequences his actions have on him and others. It may be appropriate to give them a consequence related to the child bullying act they did, such as apologizing to the other or replacing an item they broke.
  • Speak with his teacher or the school administration to find a solution together.
  • Spend more time with your child and observe his attitude to improve his behavior and correct it if necessary.
  • Insist that he respects others and accepts people who are different from him.
  • Find ways with him to express his anger and frustrations better.
  • Work with him on his confidence and how he approaches others.
  • If necessary, consult a psychologist or psychoeducation to help your child better manage his emotions and equip you to deal with this situation.

Different reasons can lead a child to bully

He seeks to enhance himself, to look good in the eyes of others, for example, to please a group and feel integrated;

  • He lacks self-confidence and does not know how to assert himself otherwise;
  • A child may exhibit intimidating gestures and behaviors without always understanding the seriousness of the consequences for the victim.
  • He has trouble expressing his anger and frustrations;
  • He doesn’t like to admit his mistakes and show himself to be vulnerable;
  • He has an authoritarian temperament and may lack empathy for others;
  • He has already experienced bullying himself.

Signs a child is bullying

Sure signs in your child’s behavior may indicate that he might be bullying. For example, it has shown that a child defies authority. Those who are unable to admit wrongdoing, who uses anger to get what he wants, who like to fight, and who tend to be manipulative are more likely to intimidate.

A child who feels little remorse lacks empathy. the child seems insensitive to the distress of others may also tend to bully others. If you observe this behavior in your child, do not hesitate to seek professional help.

Leader or bully?

However, there is a difference between a leader and a bully. To lead is not to intimidate. Some children tend to be more authoritative than others and lead a pair or a group to lead the game or organize things their way. They are natural leaders. Even if we must remain vigilant and teach them to listen to others and respect their classmates, it is not certain that these children will become bullies for all that. We speak of bullying when a child tends to want to dominate others at all costs, without respect for their desires or needs, which harms them.

 To remember

Child Bullying can be verbal, physical, social, or virtual. It occurs when a person repeatedly hurts, insults, humiliates, threatens, or excludes another person to gain power.

  • If you think your child is being bully or that he is a bully, you must talk about it calmly with him, tell him that the situation is not acceptable and that you will help him as well as take action to change things.
  • In case of bullying, it is essential to notify the school to find a solution together.

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