THE PERILS OF SCHOOL BULLYING!!
By Dr. Sairah Qureshi,
PARENTS……… A new term is about to begin, it’s back to school for your kids!
Bullying is more than often a major issue that young people have to contend with and most often dread! Essentially anti-bullying legislation states that each child has a right to walk, learn and play in a safe and harmonious environment…..but this is not always the case!!
SO WHAT IS BULLYING?
“A systematic abuse of power” (Rigby, 2002) with the keyword ‘systematic’ However, very often one-off incidents can be viewed as bullying!!
WHAT DOES BULLYING LOOK LIKE?
Traditional direct: Physical; verbal.
Indirect: Staring; rumor spreading; social isolation.
CYBERBULLYING!!!! – All forms of abuse via the internet and cell phones!
WHY YOUR CHILD/TEEN MAY BE BULLIED?
Looking or being different; weight issues; the quiet type; looking physically weak & small; less athletic and more academic; ethnicity; homophobic issues; being diabetic & on insulin; disabilities.
KEY SIGNS TO LOOK FOR IN YOUR CHILD –if you suspect that they are a victim of bullying:
- Mood swings unrelated to hormones;
- Loss of appetite;
- Loss of sleep;
- Increasingly disengages with family affairs;
- Fairly rapid weight loss or gain!!
- Decline in school grades;
- An increase in the need to be alone;
- Being irritated or angry easily;
- Signs of self-harm!!
How YOU can begin the school term & avoid your child from becoming a victim OR perpetrator of bullying!!
- Ask your child casually about things that go on in school, focus on anything that is negative and challenge this;
- Ask your child if they KNOW what bullying is?
- Have they witnessed any incidents of bullying?
- Ask your child if they feel nervous about returning to school…if yes…why?
- Notice anything your child/teen may say about school or returning to school that is negative;
- Take note of something they may say about other pupils;
- Talk about social media behaviour!!
| PARENTS….CRUCIAL to your relationship with your child/ren is continual:
Communication, Respect for All & Trust = An open-solid relationship!!!
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
- Casually bring up the topic of bullying whether over dinner or watching tv etc;
- Ask/investigate what materials on anti-bullying are being delivered or available by the school;
- ASK your child what is the school doing??
- Speak to the school principle;
- Call helplines for more information or help if your child is being bullied and the school is not efficient in their response!!
Useful Anti-Bullying Helplines:
- National Runaway Safeline: 1-800-RUNAWAY (24/7, free & confidential)
- pacer.org 1-952-838-9000 (8am-5pm Mon-Fri);
- Garden State Equality’s Anti-Bullying Hotline: 1-877-NJ-BULLY;
- National Parent Helpline: 1-855-427-2736 (1-855-427-2736 (1-855-4A PARENT)